Aug 2018 29

Indradevi - IdolsIndradevi
Category: Darkwave / Electronic
Album: Idols
Blurb: Cinematic atmospheres collide with Cambodian pop melodies and Southeast Asian musical motifs to create a unique sound enabling Indradevi to stand out in the overly saturated synthwave genre.


One might not imagine that the traditional sounds of Southeast Asia would translate well to a Western musical format, but Los Angeles darkwave act Indradevi breaks the mold with the band’s second full-length album, Idols. With vocalists Rumany Long and Sophea Pel lending their skills to founders Barong and Rangda, Indredevi incorporates Cambodian songwriting sensibilities into the familiar sounds of darkly electronic soundscapes, making the band quite a unique entity in the overly saturated world of ‘80s inspired synthwave. Foreboding atmospheres hinting at unseen menace and spiritual peril haunt the album, coupled with striking passages that juxtapose layers of synth and guitar with elements of Cambodian pop, Indonesian gamelan, and vocals that alternate between English and Khmer.

From the onset of “The Dream,” this writer could not help but be reminded of a soundtrack to an ‘80s Van Damme flick, the ambient textures and melodic passages transporting the listener to Southeast Asia, where the album’s title track then plunges us into a brooding mesh of crystalline synths and catchy melodies. Those unfamiliar with the characteristics of the Khmer language and Cambodian music may find some of the melodies and vocal harmonies odd or even atonal, but they in tandem with some rather ghostly effects only help to augment the record’s exotic setting. A distinct cinematic quality pervades on tracks like “The Assassin,” its strange harmonies of synth and gongs supplemented by dynamic guitar leads and an outro that could easily encompass a whole song unto itself, while the vocal effects in “A Hundred Fires” seem reminiscent of those utilized by Shikhee in Android Lust, which along with a forceful beat and shimmering glassy textures make it one of the album’s high points. The same can be said of “Afterglow” as its drum & bass rhythms and airy ambience make for a lovely mix, and the incorporation of sampled percussive passages in “Kerala” elevate the otherwise straightforward synthwave track into more worldly territory that seems somehow reminiscent of Deep Forest. “Fall Fall Fall” is somewhat disconcerting as its bursts of distorted descending synth and guitar lines bounce off the vocals for a rather challenging listen, while the instrumental tracks, “The Night of Black Magic” and “Dancer in the Cemetery” both add further to the sense of Idols as a soundtrack to an unseen movie.

If one were to electronically recreate the soundtrack to AKIRA created by Geinoh Yamashirogumi, or perhaps create a darker, more horror themed version of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, one might come close to what Indradevi has done on this sophomore outing. The blend of Eastern and Western musical modes on Idols would be little more than a gimmick in the hands of most in synthwave, but Indradevi manages to do so with a precision as eerie as the album’s ambient moods, allowing the band to stand out in a densely populated genre.
Track list:

  1. The Dream
  2. Idols
  3. Dance Without Joy
  4. The Assassin
  5. Afterglow
  6. Your Scream
  7. The Night of Black Magic
  8. A Hundred Fires
  9. Kerala
  10. Beneath the Eclipse
  11. Fall Fall Fall
  12. Dancer in the Cemetery

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Cleopatra Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Purchase at:
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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