Ah, the joy of life’s surprises. Fulfilled potential is especially refreshing as you witness something rise to everything you could envision for it. From Indian Lakes have given me that joy and from the looks of it, I’m not alone. They have grown into the ambitions they laid the groundwork for with their debut, and have done so flawlessly. The truly incredible part? Songs From Indian Lakes is only a teaser EP, in promotion of their upcoming full length entitled Able Bodies. So how could I possibly be excited after such a minuscule release? To put it simply, this small collection of material speaks volumes, and has produced a fully refined From Indian Lakes.
Songs From Indian Lakes begins with “We Are Sick,” which we’ve seen in a different form on the Acoustic EP. Now, the track has received full studio treatment that adds space and dynamics that unlock all the potential The Man With Wooden Legs showed, and then some. Bright and organic – and sonically reminiscent of Oceana’s Clean Head – the tune rings with a lively, summery guitar verse that harmonizes with sincere vocals that seem to float right along, though they push aggression when called. Switching between partial yells and vibrant falsetto develops a believable and vulnerable delivery that couples astoundingly well with passionate lyrics such as “Loving you is never hard to do.” It is this rarity that draws listeners to the music, stimulating parallel emotions to those conveyed in the song.
This passion is sustained in the completely new track “Breaking My Bones,” which carries a much more mature sound than we have ever heard from this band, lying somewhere between faster versions of Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and As Cities Burn’s Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest. Rhythms that sound full and spacious carry you through to the massive chorus, where blistering vocals chant the title. Again, there is a breathtaking balance between bold, harsh tones that provide dominating structure and consoling, gorgeous melodies that flow over the coarse emotionality. Tapping guitar lines are weaved in with the complex kick patterns that draw the song to its final chorus, further juxtaposing the varied presentations of raw feeling. Together, these two tracks highlight impeccable songwriting abilities that overflow with style while retaining a natural, heartfelt sensation.
Now the rest of the album has already been heard, but never in this new light. Each song is just refreshing as their initial releases. From the reverberating guitar clicks and pulsing piano lines of “We Never Dream” to the distant crashes, strumming and group vocals of “We Are Invincible,” the band engages the listener as the new mixes add more spirit and power. Crisp but expansive, From Indian Lakes have never sounded this visceral and defined. Though they’ve never been ones to be content with releasing sub-par material, the previous renditions hardly compare to these freshly overhauled versions, revealing that the band is continually drawing from its roots while seeking to improve.
With this simple release, we are given evidence of two things. Number one: From Indian Lakes have progressed from the introductory phases of a “good” band that “has potential.” They do not have potential. They have exceeded it, greatly. Which leads to point number two: If this is a mere piece of what’s to come, then it’s best to expect the band to set a new standard for releases in the genre. This is not the same creative child we saw in The Man With Wooden Legs. We have since seen the unimaginable growth, the praiseworthy maturation into a true force to be reckoned with. We’ve luckily been given a tasty bite of Able Bodies. Now I’m ready for the whole thing.