From Indian Lakes

Absent Sounds

Written by: HES on 15/02/2015 18:29:28

John Vannucchi grew up a little different from the rest of us in the scenic landscapes bordering the Yosemite National Park. Without common commodities like electricity, Vannucchi spend most of his childhood hammering away at his drumkit - no one was disturbed by the hammering apart from maybe a stray grizzly bear. When he hit his 20's he formed what was to become From Indian Lakes and released a couple of songs on Myspace. The name of the project came from the name of his friend's studio "Indian Lakes" in California. Even though Vannucchi performs with a live band, there should be no doubt that Vannucchi is the driving force behind the name - which makes the musical intricacy of his recordings absolutely baffling.

When Vannucchi was young, he received classic jazz drum lessons and this overall characterizes the album; an album on which the rhythm section is inspiringly different in its contrapuntal compositions and more groovy, almost prog-rock inspired bass-lines. This experimentation completely blows the regular 4/4 out of sight in a way I at least haven't seen since Death Cab for Cutie's "Transatlanticism" record from the mid-00's. The soundscape is so intricate and layered that it's almost overwhelming, but just sticking to enough conventions to not lose the listener. The guitars of the album are equally intricate, often forming spider-like patterns crawling in the background of the soundscape - close to, but never entering, the horrible land of overpopulated, dense soundscapes. However, it is these musical transgressions that maintain the listener's interest all the way to the 20th listen - always surprising with new motifs to explore in the wilderness that is Vannucchi's compositions.

Vannucchi's vocals are expressive, yet introverted reminiscent of Danish alternative band Mew's Jonas Bjerre - soft and with a naïve ring to them, high-pitched yet understated and quiet. Some of the recordings seem to have been done outside a regular heavily reverb-killing studio setting; this recording format gives tracks like "Awful Things" a layer of echo and a bit of a lo-fi vibe - successfully adding even more vulnerability to an already very personal expression. The vocals on some of the more extroverted songs like "Ghost" and "Label This Love" makes me flashback to a young Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria qua the nasal vocal style. Albeit way slower than Coheed and Cambria, the jazzy arrangements and experimental sound is not in a completely different box than the prog rockers. In this sense Vannucchi is absolutely right by stating that the band's music "blurs the line between genres": The indie-landscape is almost so crammed with musical chairs in the form of varying "alt-" or "post"-prefixes that it's hard not to land on one, but at least From Indian Lakes manages to land solidly in several boxes at the same time, transcending regular expectations of an avid listener of everything remotely folksy or alternative. "Absent Sounds" is a quiet album, but also a loud album - it's introverted, it's extroverted, but above, and in spite of, all that, it is amazingly cohesive and a truly pleasant listen. I am thoroughly impressed with this album and had I received it earlier I wouldn't have hesitated to consider it for my "Albums of the Year 2014" - guess I'll have to make an exception and save a spot for it on the list for 2015.


Download: Awful Things, Label This Love, Ghost, Am I Alive
For the fans of: Mew, Coheed and Cambria, Death Cab For Cutie
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.10.2014
Triple Crown Records

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