It’s not so much that West Indian Girl borrows its name from some 1963 over-the-top LSD that had a rep for causing tribal hallucinations; the issue is whether this prime stuff is still around and if they’re hoarding it all for themselves. Judging by the their self-titled Astralwerks debut and the drug chatter on the press release, it’s plausible that there’s at least a meth lab above their rehearsal space.
The really busy psychedelic work on West Indian Girl is an ornate celebration of Brit shoegaze with sometimes-dance-y electronic elements. The L.A. two-piece of Robert James and Francis Ten calls on the tie-dye-and-sandaled ruckus of 1967 for inspiration when constructing the frequent textured vocal harmonies on the album. Ten and James also pay ample tribute to Blur’s Leisure with delay pedals and bouncy, tribal drum patterns. The astounding production credits go also to the dazed duo, and the mixing board spills over onto “Visions,” a ninety-second break between songs but hardly a break from the record’s roomy spiritual atmospherics.
These aren’t the spacious, organic odes to the open road that, say, Beachwood Sparks delivered on their eponymous debut, though. Pieces like “Still Lost” and “What Are You Afraid Of?” characterize West Indian Girl as a picky unit that wants to fill every open track. They do so with guitar, be it backward or forward, layered vocals or some whirling keyboard bleeps that are weaved eventually into the rest of these weary meditations on Hollywood and emotion. West Indian Gril is best played on the pickup truck flatbed by the swimmin’ hole or while lying on top your poncho in a poppy field, presumably alongside West Indian Girl’s members as they gather what they need for the pending batch of opium back at the den.