On an album brimming with instant, artful pop classics, this one-time studio duo turned living, breathing modern rock sextet has vaulted beyond the electronic banner under which it once uncomfortably resided. Now WEST INDIAN GIRL is complete, boasting the line-up of Robert James (vocals/guitar), Francis Ten (bass), Mariqueen Maandig (vocals/percussion), Mark Lewis (drums/backing vocals), Nathan Van Hala (keyboard) and Amy White (keyboard/backing vocals) for the release of their second album 4th & Wall, out October 23 on Milan Records.Fans can get their first sampling of the band’s new sound with the song “Blue Wave,” due out September 25 via iTunes. Here, West Indian Girl’s fusion of undeniable guitar riffs, prog-like keyboard flourishes and pulsing rhythms pour a perfect foundation for the mind-melding hook and tsunami of blissful harmonies that follow. Stemming from an infectious hook and a guitar part brought to the band by Robert James, the ode to surfing on the bluest wave is destined to become a favorite of both discerning music lovers and aberrant fun seekers across the globe. “It’s about finding the best thing in life, be it a wave or a state of mind or a perfect escape,” co-founding bassist Francis Ten says.
Still, it’s surprising to learn that the shimmering, sun-streaked anthem (and its parent album) was crafted amid the decaying, urban environs where the group’s studio resides. And it’s that corner of the world that gives West Indian Girl its album title. “4th & Wall is our hidden sanctuary,” Robert James explains. “It’s in an old warehouse surrounded by a humble community of homeless people living in cardboard boxes and tents. They’re our captive audience, listening to us every night in the rain, cold and sweltering heat. We play for them as much for ourselves. It’s the place where we conjure up spirits and manifest visions–visions of a better place.” To which Fran succinctly interjects, “There’s piss and shit and rats. Therein lies the dichotomy, because our record is the antithesis of that.”
As evidenced by the gorgeous, lilting soundscape “All My Friends,” the trippy surf-meets-soul concoction “Up The Coast” and the exquisitely crafted, synth-bolstered mid-tempo rocker “To Die in LA,” 4th & Wall gives off an intoxicating, irresistible vibe with images of beautiful ocean views. Light years away from their facility’s dirty concrete and broken bottle glass world, the beach is alive in its members via the lilting, dreamy float of “Indian Ocean” and the aforementioned “Blue Wave.” West Indian Girl unabashedly bursts to life, wielding their own musical credo in “Get Up,” yet another airwave-ripe pop gem rife with brilliant harmonies and dense orchestration.
Leading up to the release of 4th & Wall, West Indian Girl will be appearing at the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco on Saturday, September 15, Spaceland in Los Angeles on Wednesday, September 19 and Monterey Music Summit on Sunday, October 21.
The complete track listing for WEST INDIAN GIRL’s 4th & Wall is:
1. To Die in LA
2. Blue Wave
4. All My Friends
5. Indian Ocean
6. Up the Coast
7. Solar Eyes
8. Lost Children
9. Back to You
10. Rise From the Dead
11. Get Up