West Indian Girl

Sometimes an album comes along which feels like exactly the right album at the right time, with a fresh spin and a new synthesis of older styles. The self-titled debut from Los Angeles outfit West Indian Girl fits into that category.

Formed by two southern California-based musicians, Robert James and Francis Ten, the duo explores their common interest in both rock & roll, dance music, and a passion for trippy psychedelic sounds. The band's music resembles The Stone Roses with less brashness, or a more languid and psychedelic version of Oasis.

The song "What Are You Afraid Of" showcases the band's synthesis of styles, jumping between its Stone Roses sensibility, a Beach Boys-evoking bridge, and the long fade-out reminiscent of George Harrison's "Isn't It a Pity."

The band's lyrics are typical psychedelic fare, saying things like "I'm on a dock overlooking my mind/I hitch my boat and I drift off" (in "Dream") or "Alone on a hill in the summer time/You could dial your mind and Listen to thoughts made young and pure" (from the simply-titled "Trip"). But verbal depth isn't the point in music like this. The feeling's the thing, an attempt to generate a sense of pure elation with soaring choruses, melody lines which swoop suddenly up to dizzying heights, and music textures building to a series of climaxes.

Though West Indian Girl was essentially a studio creation up until their album was released, the duo is clear that everything was created organically and they are no computer creation. Francis Ten has said, "In an age where so much is programmed, everything on this record is actually played, which gives it that warm feel."

And warm feel it has, perfect for any fan of psychedelic music whether classic summer-of-love trippy rock or shoegazer bands circa 1990. This is escapist fare, to be sure, but it's a first-class ticket on that escape.

Mike Sauter, WYEP Music Director