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Indian Jewelry: Free Gold

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There's something inherently oceanic about Indian Jewelry's Free Gold, the densely layered second disc from the (mostly) Houston-based collective headed by ex-Japanic/Swarm of Angels provocateur Tex Kerschen and wife Erika Thrasher. The rolling, tribal rhythms of several songs create an effect similar to being tossed to and fro at the mercy of the waves, while occasionally the momentum evaporates and the listener is (momentarily) cut adrift. "Walking on the Water," funnily enough, is a good example of the latter; its listless looping of vocals and guitar is both overheated Velvet Underground and undercooked Sonic Youth. Much stronger are "Too Much Honkytonking," a hungover lament whose loping rhythm successfully transverses a syrupy Butthole Surfers-like haze; "Hello! Africa," a slow-burning, slightly menacing coupling of late Nigerian Afrobeat deity Fela Kuti and Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead"; and "Bird Is Broke (Won't Sing)," which steeps a much stronger Sonic Youth melody than "Walking on the Water" inside a giant amniotic sac of My Bloody Valentine. And although Indian Jewelry sounds most comfortable on undulating slices of melodic drone like opener "Swans" and the moderately gentler "Pompeii," Free Gold's most striking moment is "Everyday," which leaves Thrasher alone to face a lover's abandonment armed with only an acoustic guitar and ghostly, Lush-like melody. Here there be monsters indeed.

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