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Thursday, 12 March 2015 |
2013’s Controller saw Melbourne based indie rock mainstays British India feel the confidence to experiment with their sound and explore their songwriting abilities more on the release of their major label debut. Now for the follow up, Nothing Touches Me, their fifth album overall, the band have continued to grow and mature as musicians whilst still providing that signature British India sound that’s endeared them to fans for well over a decade.
From the first listen any fears that it might not stack up to their impressive back catalogue were allayed. Not as fast and loud as their first three albums, Nothing Touches Me feels more like its predecessor, in that the band aren’t afraid to write more experimental, heart-on-your-sleeve slower tracks exposing their inspirations, feelings, vulnerabilities and personal struggles.
Singer Declan Melia recently told The Dwarf that, ‘It’s a pretty intense record, every character portrayed is really happy or completely fucked. There’s a lot of songs about girls, about break ups and they just really represent the two passionate ends of the emotional spectrum.’
These influences are easy to spot when you dig for them, however a refined, not polished feeling is what is originally gleaned from listening to the record. Earlier albums felt raw and powerful. Newer British India still has that power, however they now have the confidence to know that they don’t need to be full throttle with it. Slower tracks or songs that vary in tempo, pace and emotional content work too.
Opening song ‘Spider Chords’ gives the first taste of the immensely executed production which feels extremely professional while not going over the top and disposing of the human element and faults so inherently ingrained into rock music. It starts out slow and haunting, growing in intensity and weaveing itself into a sing along number that will be a sure fire winner live. ‘Angela’ has a light-hearted vibe despite its lyrics and beckons as a future single while currently released singles ‘Suddenly and ‘Wrong Direction’ offer up the two ends of the newer British India appeal; introspective and understated and loud, ‘chant-able’ and in your face respectively.
‘Come Home’ resonates with anyone who has felt a sense of hopelessness in a relationship, yet the intense emotion of the song doesn’t weigh down its appeal; only intensifying it. ‘Lifeguard’ is a prime example of Declan being more confident with his vocal range and exposing the softer side of his voice, while drummer Matt O’Gorman’s playing here is so precise it sounds like a drum machine. The instrumentation throughout is sublime. Guitarist Nic Wilson nails both killer riffs and intricate softer notes while Will Drummond’s bass lines underpin the whole operation, never more prevalent than on the title track.
After over forty full listens; this is the best British India album they have released, simply because it showcases what we’ve always loved about them: infectious fast paced jams that get stuck in your head and combined it with their new found confidence to write and deliver slower cuts with relatable character-based narratives. If you’re unsure about this new style then listen to the brilliant ‘Right By Your Side’ tucked away near the album’s end and you’ll realise that bands growing and evolving their sound can definitely be a good thing.
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