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Indian Jewelry
Real Gold! Luke Turner , July 25th, 2008 13:48

Indian Jewelry - Real Gold!

On this side of the pond we might be getting all het up at the reformation of My Bloody Valentine, but the North American Continent seems to be spawning umpteen bands who are giving the now rehabilitated shoegazing genre a kick up the rear and actually taking it to pastures new. Canada’s Nadja (and, to be fair to the Brits, Jesu), for instance, have made the brilliant step of combining shoegaze with the deep ponderings of doom. On the other hand, the likes of Wooden Shjips, A Place To Bury Strangers and now Indian Jewelry have developed the sound by twisting strands of psychedelia and gothic electronica into the laces.

This is superbly realised on Indian Jewelry’s second album, Real Gold!. The title itself suggests the false promise of a gold rush leading pioneers across a threatening land. Even though they’re probably all nice kids waiting tables in their Texas home, the feral abandon of Indian Jewelry makes them horny iconoclasts on the road with a pocketful of ephedrine, bad attitude and deviant teenage fantasy: It’s all very Badlands.

Real Gold! starts conventionally enough, brush fire hazes of guitar, the kind of languid psychedelia peddled by Brian Jonestown Massacre or The Warlocks. But, quickly, Free Gold! reveals itself as an album on a trip.

Indian Jewelry have as much ability to conjure menace from machines as they do guitars, and, like any good quest, theirs involves the accruing of knowledge and technique. So it is that ‘Too Much Honkytonking’ (how true) sounds the approach of a badass biker who’s just found out you’re walloping his maiden. The unfortunate passengers on ‘Temporary Famine Ships’, meanwhile, are embarked to a stentorian beat and a ravey synth oscillation, while ‘Bird Is Broke (Won’t Sing) becomes an industrial, pulsing beast made out of initial rubber jackhammer beats. The 47 seconds of ‘Syllabic Viagra’ (this lot have a way with song titles) are a thousand executioner’s knives being sharpened. On ‘Seasonal Economy’, hectic and distorted guitar drown out a vague dribble of harmonica, a humid summer storm coming to ruin the down-home dream of tins of beans around the campfire. By the time we get to P*Orridge-aping mumbles and stabs of ‘Hello Africa’, or the elegant swoops of ‘Overdrive’, our friends have reached the decadent city. The record ends, appropriately enough, in the meandering, beatific jam of ‘Seventh Heaven’, offering final respite, and eventual peace.

Quite where their journey will leave Indian Jewelry in the cold hard light of record sales remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that Real Gold! is, on its own terms, a nugget you wouldn't kick out of the pan in a hurry.