Indian, a musically dynamic and lyrically searching debut EP from the Indy-based band VilaFishburn, is a most-enjoyable, and all-too-short, collection of intelligent rock songs, self-produced in the band's home studio. Consisting of three original members of the now-defunct Port 80 and utilizing two of the area's most talented bass players, VilaFishburn creates a sound that is at times dark, at times hopeful, but always musical, vibrant and cerebral.
The self-titled first song is an anthemic American Indian prayer that blends warm acoustic and electric guitars, and is highlighted by a soaring, spatial bridge that is at once tender and powerful. "Fall Again" contains a walking bass line and slight jazz shuffle rhythm that command the mood of this self-deprecating analysis of one young man's apathetic account of early adult life. Hearing this I can certainly recall those days of laughing all the way out of the bars and waking up the next day realizing that nothing had changed.
The third song, "Dreams" is an alternatingly dark and lilty dialogue between the conscious mind and the mind's third eye. Lyrically surreal and musically dramatic in places, "Dreams" contains unexpected chordal and percussive changes that swell to a powerful third verse and a quiet, almost yielding end. The best song in terms of structure this listener has heard come out of Indy in a while, "Ricochet" is an unsettling interpretation of the recent sniper killings in DC, told in the first-person. A driving rhythm section, soaring guitars and unrepentant vocals keep this song moving to a resolute and foreboding end.
Probably the most radio-friendly song on the album, "The Ball" possesses subtle alternating percussive patterns that help build tension into the major-key, ultimately hopeful choruses. A pause in one's life, with one eye on the past and one on the future, this song contains some of the album's strongest lyrics: "...Gifts of promise making kind/Wonder of this world turning the corner to you." The last song, officially untitled, is an Eastern-Indian inspired instrumental, built upon creative percussive loops of slit drums and toms, with sparse guitars and wordless, distant chant. Hypnotic and erotic, the song provides a chordal resolution to a dreamy, melodic album.
Inventive song structures provide a firm foundation for a superb array of guitar tonal textures, driving mixed-meter-feel rhythms, melodic bass lines, and passionate vocals that sometimes whisper and sometime scream their surreal messages. Indian is a strong outing from an overlooked band on the Indy music scene.
--Andy Baker, Cincinnati, OH