Once a pop duo, West Indian Girl is now complete as a rock sextet. Named after a strain of LSD, original members Robert James (vocals/guitar) and Francis Ten (bass) are joined by Mariqueen Maandig (vocals/percussion), Mark Lewis (drums/backing vocals), Nathan Van Hala (keyboard), and Amy White (keyboard/backing vocals) and the six-piece rock outfit has the sophomore West Indian Girl album, 4th & Wall, ready for an October 23, 2007 release. If you just cannot wait, don’t fret too much as the first single, “Blue Wave,” is already available on iTunes. The band also has a few tracks up on their MySpace page.
The album is named after the corner where the band’s studio is. The warehouse is in a part of Los Angeles that isn’t really a tourist destination, in fact it is the type of neighborhood your mother told you to avoid, as influencing the beachy sounds of the album — they are surrounded by a community of homeless people, rats, and excrement. However, being aware of their surroundings is also the only inspiration the sound needs as they dream up visions of a better place. To that end, West Indian Girl succeeds.
The catchy guitar riffs and synth that caught our attention with their first single, “What Are You Afraid Of,” are back yet fleshed out with the additional personalities the band has picked up along the way. And don’t worry, there are still references to mind-altering substances present throughout the new album. 4th & Wall will definitely make you long to have the days of summer back as the ocean seems to be a main character of the album.
“Get Up” certainly has potential to pop through the airwaves with brilliant harmonies and solid orchestration. “To Die in LA” is a rocker strengthened by the great synth we’ve come to expect from West Indian Girl. With the howling harmonies, “Sofia” may very well be my favorite track on the album. The enthralling hook in “Blue Wave’ makes it a perfect choice to be the first single. “All My Friends” is a foot-tapping trippy tune that further makes the point that 4th & Wall is the antithesis to the surroundings in which it was created. The CD is certainly worth a listen.
The complete track listing for West Indian Girl’s 4th & Wall is:
1. To Die in LA
3. 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
West Indian Girl also has a few upcoming tour dates. Those of you on the West Coast are lucky dogs. Let me know if you catch a show, I’d love to hear about it.
October 19 at Winstons in San Diego, CA
October 20 at Spaceland in Los Angeles, CA
October 21 at the Monterey Fairgrounds in Monterey, CA as part of the Monterey Music Summit
November 1 at the Billboard Conference in Lost Angeles, CA
November 10 at The Independent in San Francisco, CA