Yosemite National Park is one of America’s greatest gems. With over 750,000 acres of sprawling beauty, Yosemite is more than just a national treasure, it is a human treasure. From the spectacular landscape of the Yosemite Valley, the majestic waterfalls and sequoia trees, and landmarks like Half Dome, once you explore the park, you will find it forever imprinted in you. While its beautiful images will stay with you throughout your life, there is something about the park’s beauty itself that will stick to you forever.
Joey Vannucchi spent the majority of his childhood in the shadow of Yosemite National Park. Growing up, he did not have many of the amenities most children take for granted, so he spent much of his time devoted to playing music. After making his way as a member of a multiple area bands, it wasn’t until Vannucchi began writing and recording in a friend’s studio, that he found his solace as a musician. It was this studio in Indian Lakes, California where the pieces of From Indian Lakes first took shape.
Five years and two studio albums later, From Indian Lakes has grown bigger than Vannuchhi and company could have possibly imagined. Coming off of their critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Able Bodies, the band’s third studio effort, Absent Sounds is another step in the right direction. Their first record on Triple Crown Records, the band shows us that they have no place to go but up. One of the finest indie rock ensembles out there, From Indian Lakes has taken their game to another level, as Absent Sounds proves to be as mighty as Yosemite itself.
Returning fans of the band will be sure to notice the change in tone present on this record. Absent Sounds is an intimate affair, with the band shaving their sound down ever-so-slightly. While it isn’t a drastic change, the record is noticeably tighter. It isn’t particularly aggressive, but rather more personal and straightforward, with the emotions behind the songs driving their melodies and composition. The album comes at a perfect time, with the changing of the leaves providing a perfect backdrop for the songs here, but it is destined to stick with you deep into the snowy nights of winter and rainy days of spring.
Throughout, the words Vannucchi sings seem to challenge our traditional notion of who we are. They force us to consider questions that we do not want to think about. They ask why “we breathe so desperately” without caring as to whether we’re “breathing honestly”. They tell us that we “don’t really know anyone at all”, and “will never know anyone at all”. The things these songs force us to think about ourselves are uncomfortable, and may be a little scary too. But Vannuchhi tells us on “Awful Things” that he “finally knows what it’s like to be honest”, and Absent Sounds tells us just how much honesty can teach us about ourselves.
While its lyrics bring forth internal challenge, the whole album manages to stay fresh throughout. The band understands they can’t write “We Are Sick” or “I Don’t Know You” over and over again, so instead they write “Am I Alive” and “Runner”, tracks whose handclaps and acoustic strums, combined with their haunting vocal melodies, are claustrophobic and huge at the same time. However, the band shows that they can still write a huge chorus, evident on “Sleeping Limbs” and “Ghost”, which hit hard and wide. The weight of the music is pushed and pulled by its emotional weight, as the 35 minutes of tightly-wound sound on this record is among some of the finest you may hear this fall.
In crafting this record, From Indian Lakes was able to withdraw from what they were familiar with, with the blessing of a record label allowing them to take their time in crafting this record. Amidst a breadth of opportunity, the band was able to capitalize and make something truly great. Once you take the time to listen to this album, you will find yourself stuck. It will earn countless spins, hitting you with full force from the first listen. While its songs and melodies will stay with you with every spin, there is something special about Absent Sounds that will stick with you like few records can.