British India have been forced to grow up. They released three albums in quick succession starting with their debut, Guillotine in 2007. But by 2010 the band found themselves in an unenviable position. It was sink or swim time, having no rehearsal space or a distributor and this has influenced the style and lyrical content of their latest record, Controller.
The 10 songs here see the guys expand on their earlier, frenetic sound with the inclusion of a little more variety. At best this has yielded ‘I Can Make You Love Me’, an the emotive ballad reminiscent of The Temper Trap with its melancholy feel and desperate cry. The slowing of their speed and volume has also resulted in a slow-burning track like ‘Swimming In Winter’. ‘Crystals’ again fits this new mould but it lacks oomph and feels forced with the group trying to sound like Foals while singer, Declan Melia aims for Angus Stone but just sounds whiny.
The loud guitars that underpinned their earlier output are found in the form of some defiant rock anthems. ‘Plastic Souvenirs’ is the best of these as it boasts the immediacy of The Living End with blasts of guitars and a tongue-in-cheek look at an American conspiracy theorist. ‘Summer Forgive Me’ also zooms past at full-throttle with a powerful, punk attitude.
Controller sees the boys take a step outside of the garage to explore the world beyond the heady, good times of partying and excess that flavoured their previous records and youth. It’s an interesting shift and a commendable effort to see the guys in the driver’s seat (in spite of adversity) and taking control of their direction in life.
Originally published on 12 April 2013 at the following website: http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/reviews/music/35389/British-India–Controller
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