Sound — 10
Ambient dreamscapes pierced by dazzling synth rays, jangly tambourines, and glittering violin passages columned by tribal beats is at the core of West Indian Girl's latest release 4th And Wall on Milan Records. The synth-pop sextet from Los Angeles, California stays true to their nature of creating placid melodic escapes which fans were first exposed to on the group's self-titled debut album in 2004. Added to the ambient-synth mix are some Americana-tinged acoustic guitar licks on tracks like All My Friends and Back To You, which also carries some majestic synth bedding and billowing bass drum effects. The group creates futuristic odysseys that take the listener away to a cerebrally delightful place. The mellifluous tones and jubilant electro pop channels work up into a cyclical routine where they develop into crescent waves, recede slightly and then develop again into large flourishes like on Up The Coast. West Indian Girl's dream-pop hues are reminiscent of The Rapture and Great Northern with shallots of country-folk flange in their acoustic guitars worthy of Mates Of State. The vocal hooks make the songs memorable as the stunning electro-pop effects slip and slide through the movements with a creamy finish. The music is uber special with a Kasabian-quenched prog rock sensibility and grandiose synth-pop helixes interwoven by intricate subtleties like subliminal flutes, twinkling violins, and sparkling effects. There is nothing ordinary or lame about West Indian Girl's music. You know that it is something which was specially made from the first listen.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics create an escape that works in conjunction with the music like in the track Blue Wave when the group's vocals resound, Surfing on the bluest wave, I'm ready to go/ Reaching for the shiny eye that swims below/ Try to catch one, only the best one/ Surfing on the bluest wave/ Try to catch one, only the best one. The members explain on their website that part of why they wanted their songs to be such vividly lush sonic escapes for the listener is because they seek that escapist world, which living by the Pacific Ocean in L.A. lets them daydream about and inspires them to create music. Since the band's recording studio, West Indian Girl Recording Studios is a warehouse in the dingy part of town on the corner of 4th and Wall Street, hence the title of the album, the band's impetus was literally at their doorstep to create luxurious sonic escapes.
Overall Impression — 10
The album has it's portion of electro-pop/dance tracks, New Age-laden ambient escapes, and Americana-induced synth-pop magnetism. Produced by Illuminus, the album is an ambient-pop gem with sonic rays that glitter and sparkle with crystalline brilliance. The harmonies are beautifully layered and perfectly hoisted reflective of the giant crescent waves of the Pacific Ocean. Band members Robert James (vocals, guitar), Francis Ten (bass), Mariqueen Maandig (vocals, percussion), Mark Lewis (drums, backing vocals), Nathan Van Hala (keyboards), and Amy White (keyboards, backing vocals) show a gift for composing melodic pop with detailed intricacies that sound good and feel good for the listener. The music puts the mind in a pleasant place and makes harmony accessible for anyone to touch.