Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
One of the beauties of the Independent Spotlight is its vast reach. We review artists from all around the world, covering music from nearly every genre and nationality. As is the case this evening, as we’ll be delving into Indytronics, a group based out of Ukraine. They align themselves as indie rock and post-punk and they boast some fantastic influences. (Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, the Vaccines, the Beatles to name a few. That’s a damn solid foundation to build on.) How do they stack up to their indie counterparts? Let’s find out.
Now, most of Indytronic’s online presence is in Russian, so fully equip with Google Translate, I attempted to dig as deep as I could into their persona. Their debut release, ‘Scintilla Wave,’ was dropped about six months ago. Thus, we’re going to check out a random handful of tunes from the release. Fortunately, the music is in English. (Fortunately for me as an English-speaking critic, anyway.)
‘Catwalk’ establishes the Indytronic sound right out of the gate. Their name alludes to an electronic style, but that’s not necessarily the case here. It’s an atmosphere-heavy, introspective jaunt through indie rock musings. Lead vocalist Danil Bogdanenko has a very ‘indie’ voice, embracing some of the typical tropes of singers in his field. As a result, he’s frequently very difficult to understand.
That criticism may extend to one of the band’s better tunes as well, ‘Future Talk Knocks.’ At times, Bogdanenko is difficult to understand here as well. Now, this specific style is very, very, very much inspired by the Arctic Monkeys. I’d be shocked if this song wasn’t modeled off of a style pioneered by ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.’ The guitar banter, the vocal delivery, and just about everything else screams early Arctic Monkeys. Fortunately, the group masters the sound quite well. I’ve never had an issue understanding Alex Turner, though. He’s a sly, witty performer that bounces around in a rap-like fashion, but he’s also understandable. Bogdanenko does falter into a realm of obscurity in that regard.
A few other pieces I checked out were the dynamically intriguing ‘Lovebite’ and the acoustic ‘Ocean In The Lungs.’ I prefer the latter track because the slower style accentuates the band quite well. It also accents their songwriting, which is strong, for the most part. Other songs, however, such as ‘Mighty One,’ just embrace the Monkeys inspiration to an extreme extent.
Indytronics is chock-full of talent and fun. I do, however, worry that their sound is too much like the Arctic Monkeys - if I want to hear this kind of music, I’ll listen to ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ or ‘Humbug.’ Frankly, those albums will always do this style better. Indytronics should borrow their favorite bits of that, but they also need to focus on creating a unique sound of their own. They haven't arrived there yet, but they have the potential to.