Artist: From Indian Lakes
Album: Everything Feels Better Now
Reviewer: Tyler Davis
For fans of: Lydia, Anthiny Green, O’Brother
Joey Vannucchi, the singer/songwriter behind indie project From Indian Lakes, grew up on a 40 acre patch of land near the band’s namesake, Indian Lakes, California. Vannucchi’s only source of electricity was a small generator which was rarely used. From Indian Lakes’ fourth album Everything Feels Better Now, began under similarly minimal circumstances. Vannucchi, who recorded every instrument heard on the album, recorded the basic tracks in the basement of a coffee shop. Together with his housemate, Vannucchi built sound panels and scrounged up equipment to create a usable home studio. The record was made using entirely analog instruments and equipment. Once basic tracks had been created, Vannucchi landed at Fairfax Recording in Los Angeles, the space previously held by the legendary Sound City.
In this fourth release, Vannucchi has even further departed from his indie rock roots, vying instead for a more pop-centric sound. Gone are the Gibbard-esque guitars and loud drums, in their place is a far more sparse and atmospheric aesthetic. The vocals (surprise, surprise) are slathered in reverb, a once-cool and now beyond-overdone trope in indie music. Vannuchi’s unique voice is much better served when the reverb knob is cranked down closer to eight o’clock, which happens only occasionally on tracks such as “Come Back.”
What is lost on this release is much of what made the project unique. Vannucchi’s early records were characterized by his own unique brand of indie rock. While the project was never groundbreaking by any means, Vannucchi’s quirky melodies and unique guitar lines set the band apart from the fold. This uniqueness can be heard on the track “Lose Myself.” Unfortunately, much of the record could easily be mistaken as coming from any number of young bands being played on KROQ. This isn’t to say Everything Feels Better Now is a bad record per se, but much of it comes across as paint-by-numbers indie pop and is ultimately forgettable. Vannucchi’s talent is undeniable; however it is often overshadowed by beaten-to-death clichés.
There is raw emotion in the lyrics of this record on the track “American Dream,” Vannucchi sings, “It used to be a beautiful thing / But now it just feels wrong / It’s starting to hurt my head / This American dream again.” However, this emotion is undermined by the unnecessary reverb and laissez-faire vocal style employed on the tracks.
Everything Feels Better Now makes great use of instrumental atmosphere, but once again uses this as a crutch. This causes much of the instrumentation to blend together, leaving the melodic guitar licks found in previous From Indian Lakes records far behind. Vannucchi is not the first indie kid to grow tired of the same old rock instrumentation and buy a gaggle of vintage synths in search of new sounds, but therein lies the problem; Vannucchi is far from the first, and so this album loses itself in a sea of forgettable indie-pop records that leave behind raw passion for hip vibes and atmospheric haze.