Last year, UK-based pop artist Indiana released a string of dancefloor-ready songs meant to precede her debut album. While none quite grabbed the attention of radio, you'd be crazy to pass up listening to her full-length No Romeo.
While many pop upstarts lean on 80s aesthetics, Indiana (real name Lauren Henson) weaves them in carefully. An 80s influence tends to make the music sound colorful and sometimes generic. That's what makes No Romeo significant; there are a few synths that wouldn't sound out of place on a Cyndi Lauper song, but Indiana bathes her songs in a claustrophobic darkness. Think the recent efforts from BANKS and SOHN, as well obvious predecessor Portishead, but with Indiana's delicate voice cooing and caressing.
The record was mostly written and produced by Indiana herself and John Beck, the latter who's worked on songs from other UK acts like Palmoa Faith and Lianna La Havas. Singles "Solo Dancing" and "Heart on Fire" are fairly indicative of the album's sound, but Indiana shines when she goes even darker, such as on the stark ballad "Blind As I Am" and the biting "Jack." By the album's tail end, which includes her newest single "Only The Lonely", it's clear that Indiana had a vision for this record. She executes it clearly and concisely, with room to breathe and much to discover through subsequent listens.
Listen to No Romeo below. The album is released in the UK next week.