Album Review: Indian School – The Cruelest Kind

With a new moniker and a new sound, for three fifths of Rosemead, California pop-punk band Audio Karate, Indian School is a fresh start but thankfully the bands upbeat approach thoroughly remains intact as “The Cruelest Kind” is a warming collection of summery guitar pop that is reminiscent of The Get Up Kids, and in places Thrice and even The Strokes.

The bands high feel-good factor kicks in from the start with “Elvis,” a jangly, bright opener with a bright, catchy chorus that quickly wins you over. Eric Wood provides light, bouncy keys that suitably compliment Art Barrios’ vocals which are reminisce of The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas. It is a welcomed attribute and adds texture to the bands sound.

Throughout the bands are structurally strong; “Wind You Up” is a stomping, well-paced number that soars superbly into the chorus thus giving the band fantastic momentum early on. Whilst “High Low” provides a calmer moment, opening with just Barrios voice and a sincere acoustic guitar,the track sensibly gives way to a thriving, tight full-band section that nothing more than pleasing to hear.  

Next up is the fuzzy “Rob Your House” which sees Barrios adding a bit of attitude and bite to his vocal delivery yet the band, as a whole, manage to retain their admirable melodic style. 

“Cocktail Flu” is where the aforementioned Thrice comparison comes in. The five-piece slower the tempo, as the bands guitars stir up towards a strong instrumentation part, which gives clear indication that Indian School are capable of mixing it up and have variation in their arsenal.

“High Low” delightfully closes the EP with its bright sentimental approach and organic feel; laid back acoustics and sunny keys compliment Barrios’ hearfelt, simple lyrics. 

With a combination of neatly-written songs and well-paced momentum, Indian School have provided a highly pleasing record that has longevity which will surely stretch out to the summer months. On a side note, it’s a credit to the band to give a relatively unknown UK label like Walnut Tree Records the opportunity to release this exceptionally promising record.

5/5

“The Cruelest Kind” by Indian School is available now on Walnut Tree Records.

Indian Schools links: Official Website|Facebook|Twitter|Soundcloud

Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)

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