Indian Jewelry


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Indian Jewelry give their listeners fair warning with Totaled’s title: this album is filled with intense sonics that are warped like bent metal and glitter like shattered glass. Erika Thrasher and Tex Kerschen go for a much harsher sound than they did on Free Gold!, which had a hazy, heat-shimmer beauty despite its abrasive textures. Here, the pair’s twisted synth rock is thrown into sharp relief, and it sounds all the stranger for it. “Vision”'s psychedelic new wave boasts synth tones so cheesy, they’re almost rude, and “Simulation”'s gurgling bass just makes it sound more like a mad scientist’s experiment gone horribly awry. The drone in Thrasher's voice on “Look Alive” complements the metallic din that surrounds it, and time and time again Totaled shows that Indian Jewelry aren’t afraid of dense, unrepentantly ugly sounds or unsettling their audience, whether it’s in the form of jarring snippets such as “Sirens” or “Tono Bungay”'s robo-tribal throb and “Never Been Better”'s clash of viscous electronics and doom-laden guitars. Totaled hits rock bottom -- in the best sense of the phrase -- with the heart of darkness that is “Parlous Siege & Chapel,” a trance-inducing, six-minute excursion into layers of atonally pulsing synths and implosive dread. The alien buzz of songs like these and “Touching the Roof of the Sun” hark back to Invasive Exotics and We Are the Wild Beast's free-for-alls -- giving the name Totaled an entirely different meaning -- but the band’s softer side surfaces here and there. “Excessive Moonlight” is delicate and ghostly, despite its heavy synth strings; the layers of sound in “Diamond Things” tumble and float over each other like a just-shaken snow globe; and “Heaven’s World Destroyer” has a fittingly fearsome beauty and cultish intensity. The fact that Totaled closes with its prettiest song, “Dog Days,” just adds to the album’s somewhat perverse vibe. But unlike some underground bands, Indian Jewelry just get more uncompromising and honed as they go, and this eerie, unsettling album is a perfect culmination of the duo's work so far.

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