When Indiana turned heads earlier this year with breakout single ‘Solo Dancing’, a brooding electronic escapade that revelled in its own subtly ingenious wordplay, she hinted at her desire to strip dance music of its festivity and coax it into a darker place. With the emergence of her debut album ‘No Romeo’, it’s evident that her burning desire has manifested into a twisted reality.
‘No Romeo’ is a deeply atmospheric record, but a fickle one at that. Outright refusing to venture into the realms of predictability, each fragment of her tortured craft comes pre-loaded with a sucker punch intent on rumbling any concrete definitions of her musical makeup. Beginning with the seething ‘Never Born’, that evolves from a slow-burning ambient affair to a grandiose electro-rock hybrid, songs that share the unanimous concept of love gone wrong all become drastically different experiences.
‘Shadow Flash’ peppers delicate piano balladry with joyous trumpets and spoken word samples, whereas ‘Only The Lonely’ offers up a range of euphoric synth bursts that contrast with its doleful subject matter. Even elements of the Bay Area’s brash hip-hop sound lurk within the gloomy confines of ‘Bound’ and its tale of perilous love, a combination that sounds crass on paper but works out to be a late album triumph. With so much going on, there’s room for Indiana’s vocal presence to get lost amidst the chaos, but her conviction sears through, particularly with her spirited performance on the soaring ‘Heart On Fire’.
Many an album offers up a promising early that it fails to live up to in the long run. With ‘No Romeo’, however, Indiana successfully abuses the boundaries of genre to create a melancholic tome of songs that dares to be inventive from its first steps to its dying moments.