If you listen to Indian Jewelry a few times, then don’t listen for a few months, then prepare to listen again, chances are that you will imagine you are about to embark upon something much weirder, much more esoteric than you actually are. This is a compliment to the band, though, not an insult. The thing about this Houston-based group is that its music alternates between formless and throbbing, as on the new album’s two opening tracks – the kick-drum-pounding, shoegazer “Moonlight” and the droning, tribal “Touching the Roof of the Sun.”
But throughout this supposed dichotomy of sound lie some binding ties; namely, effects ridden keys, guitars, vocals, and bass, and a propensity to meander without ever latching onto a melody. Again, compliment. “Tono Bungay” actually rides upon something close to an electro beat, around which slink simplistic guitar lines reminiscent of early Cure or Movement New Order. At times, the palpitations can be hard to listen to, as is the case on the evil “Parlous Siege and Chapel,” a track that practically spits out lyrics over a sub-bass quivering. Before you reach your breaking point, however, the band embarks upon “Oceans,” their version of pop, another song that recalls early Cure, this time maybe something from Pornography.
If this is the direction all music was heading in, the future would be very dour indeed. But bands like Indian Jewelry peppering the landscape with their experimental and dystopian visions of melody (or lack thereof) is a welcome break from all the rest.