Manitoban alternative pop band Indicator Indicator has brought itself back into the music world with its new EP Swarm/Love is Not Enough. While it is a small album of only three songs, what this group lacks in output they make up for with quality and an omnivorous musical style that uses both physical and digital instruments.
Indicator Indicator is a relatively new band, having first released their self-titled EP in September 2012. The group found rapid critical acclaim with the debut, which was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award. Named an act to watch by the CBC, the band has since spent most of its time touring the United States in order to gain an American audience.
Album opener “Swarm” delivers a strong start, with an opening reminiscent of some Mother Mother songs that quickly settles into its own style. Vocalist and keyboardist Sandy Taronno has a smooth and confident voice that fits well with the poetic lyrics which tell a story of relaxation within chaos.
With lyrics such as “Trumpet sounds and walls come down/Passing little stories around to kill the time/Take your flying horse for a ride/Long as you like,” the album explores the sense of freedom that exists at the end of the world.
Albums have a tendency to skew either completely electronic or entirely analog, but with Indicator Indicator the blending of the two styles feels fitting and natural. Neither side overpowers the other or becomes too distracting. Instead, both work in unison to better capture a unique blend of sounds.
The theme of endings continues with second song “Love is Not Enough,” which follows the experience of losing one’s love while being powerless to do anything about it. The electronic aspects take centre stage in this song, creating a frantic yet melancholy mood.
Lyrics like “Take her cold white hand into my hand/Says I can but I better understand/That the verdict’s clear my love is worthless” show the narrator’s desperation, trying to accept what’s happening at the same time as they’re doing whatever it takes to prevent the end.
All three tracks cover the inevitable as well as the various reactions that it causes, and the mood grows appropriately more solemn and dark with each song as a result. “Coward” cements this theme with a song more about regret than acceptance or struggle. It talks of how fragile strength is and how easily it and everything else can weaken and fall apart.
While not the happiest way to end an album, “Coward” is certainly meaningful. The song acts as a fitting conclusion, its musings on the suddenness of change a mirror image to the magnitude that such change can have on your life that is found in “Swarm.” Heard next to one another, the pieces fit together wonderfully.
Probably the worst thing about the album is that it is so short, but nevertheless Swarm/Love is Not Enough has good value for your money. What is here is masterfully done, with all three songs fitting together seamlessly. You’ll find yourself listening to the album on repeat for a long time.
Photo: Supplied by indicator indicator