West Indian Girl

After expanding its head count, L.A.'s hippified West Indian Girl cooked up loose, electronically augmented rock for 4th & Wall, its sophomore album, following a departure from Astralwerks Records. Founders Robert James and Francis Ten fleshed out the group with more keyboards and vocals; huge crescendos on tracks like "Indian Ocean" and "Sofia" owe to said adjustments. With the extra members in tow, the record's breezy ditties turn bright and ornamental.

"Back to You" looks home to Buffalo Springfield, with blink-and-you'll-miss-it pedal-steel flourishes amid acoustic-driven instrumental breaks. James's vocals trail off frequently before he finishes many syllables, but with lyrics about "running back" to a lover, it's an apt touch. Also adding to the record's steady, summery aesthetic is its multitude of guitar tracks. West Indian Girl lands far from guitar-centrism; look no further than the prog-techno trickery of "Lost Children" for proof. But the colorful riffs curling around each keyboard melody scream mildly drunk, barefoot rock. Here's to warmer fall weather.


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