Album Reviews: West Indian Girl by West Indian GirlWith song titles like "Trip," "Visions," and "Still Lost," and a band name taken from a famous type of LSD, you might expect West Indian Girl to dose their music with plenty of tie-dyed, psychedelic sounds. But the band's stoned, soft-focus debut is more about bong hits than blotter paper, and never ventures far into truly trippy territory. Instead, happily, West Indian Girl blends elements of Cocteau Twins-style bliss-pop, early '90s neo-hippie rock, and the postmodern power pop of bands like Flaming Lips and Super Furry Animals into something wholly original. Call it indie rock for the post-raver generation -- after all, producer/songwriter duo Robert James and Francis Ten first worked together as rave promoters in Dallas, Texas before settling into their current role as L.A.-based bedroom rockers.
Every track of this dazzling debut oozes with the sort of densely orchestrated, multi-tracked atmosphere more common to electronica, but West Indian Girl's best moments come when they set a finely tuned pop melody into a reverb-laden rock soundscape. "What Are You Afraid Of" sounds, thanks to James' eerie vocal resemblance to Wayne Coyne, like the Flaming Lips covering a lost U2 epic, while "Still Lost" mesmerizes with guitars and synths chiming around a soaring vocal refrain. Maybe best of all, calmer tracks like "Northern Sky" and "Lay Down" simply glow with quiet happiness, like a sunset at the end of a summer day. Highly recommended. - Andy Hermann
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