Avatars of the Delhi-based psychedelic indie/garage sounding band Indigo Children have, at various points, been christened Copperstoned, Superfuzz Bigmuff, The Superfuzz, and The Mars Volta, the last of which is most likely false. However, after a considerable period of wandering and searching, they seem to have found their true musical calling or some such. They’ve finally managed to pull their heads out of their collective asses and have come out with two new singles – ‘Jesus was a Mushroom’ and ‘Why Don’t You Follow Me Down’ (download the songs for free here) – combining the release with an ongoing four city tour. Here’s some initial thoughts:
Jesus was a Mushroom (06:40)
For the sake of brevity, let’s just say that the introducing bass line sounds just a tad like the opening bit of ‘Can’t Stop by the Red Hot Chili Peppers at first. The tightly wound riff begins to open up with tremolo guitar effects followed by some more weird psychedelic background sounds before the song finally establishes itself. Safe to say these guys are a music journalist’s nightmare now – genre categorizations are hard to come by with Indigo Children, what with the band absorbing a mighty wide sphere of influences, from rock ‘n’ roll to the blues to garage and indie to psychedelia to some heavy-handed progressive drum ‘n’ bass musings. And still, the song, despite all the elaborate riffing and guitar doodling and bass-drum interplay happening, is best identified with a splendid vocal delivery that sits tenderly on top of the mix, with themes of religion, iconoclasm, and irreverence floating about (‘Jesus was a mushroom/ I am a cathar’) as well as either psychedelic substances or expensive vegetables, depending on which mushroom Jesus really was. Overall, the song is an over-ornate composition with very intelligent and elaborate songwriting that keeps it chugging along when the length threatens to derail the emotional connect that the song forges, and the memorable vocal and guitar melodies are quite exquisite.
Why Don’t You Follow Me Down (05:43)
This one’s a lot easier to digest, what with its fuzzy and energetic opening chords, followed by a precise rhythm section and a very pleasant vocal melody. It’s like they’re revisiting their Superfuzz garage roots, but with an added maturity evinced by the pulsating guitar lines at the back constantly driving the song forward. Sanchal Malhar, the vocalist, croons about wanting to “rather be a nomad” in his trademark determined and overenunciated twang. A lyrical pattern emerges through the two songs; one of anti-establishment, derision, and a very measured sort of antipathy toward urban existence voiced through yearnings for escape and rebellion. ‘Why Don’t You Follow Me Down’ follows a much more linear structure and has more easier-to-grasp melodies. It’s not really a ‘Sing to Me’ or ‘What Every Kid Wants’ or ‘School’ or something – let’s face it; they’ve moved on from those fuzzy garage pop days, and so should we – but it’s as close to catchy ‘pop’ packaged in psychedelic, raw, distorted boxes as Indigo Children can get in these heady times.
A word about the recording – the production quality does a fair amount of justice to the coarse and abrasive sound that’s become their hallmark, with live drums adding a further sense of purpose, although a greater narrative shall probably emerge with a longer release. In the meantime, I’m left wiping the drool off my shirt.