Infinite Shuffle

August 2, 2013

168 – British India

Filed under: Australia, B — assman41 @ 3:15 am

I fell in love with The Offspring when I was a junior in high school. Up to that point, my radio dial rarely strayed from the local oldies station. But then Dexter and the boys put out Americana, and I couldn’t help but get hooked by such songs as “Pretty Fly For a White Guy”, “The Kids Aren’t Alright” and “Get a Job”.

By the time I was in college, that CD was a staple in my rotation, and, needless to say, I was really looking forward to the release of Conspiracy of One, their 2000 follow-up. Alas, it was nowhere near as good as its predecessor.

But after going back and listening to the band’s older stuff, I realized that the latest album was just following a pattern that had plagued the group since its start. It could never put out two solid albums in a row.

The self-titled debut? A great start. Ignition? A sophomore slump. Smash? Arguably the greatest entry in their catalog. Ixnay On the Hombre? Pass.

So, why am I bringing this up now, 15 years after that SoCal crew peaked? To illustrate a point. Sometimes, bands don’t follow a curve. Instead, it’s more of a sine wave.

And that brings me to British India, four chaps who have been playing indie-rock together since they were high schoolers in the underground music scene of Melbourne, Australia.

The group’s recent release, 2013’s Controller, is its fourth album to date and easily its best. It also continues the band’s hit-or-miss trend.

British India’s debut, 2007’s Guillotine, proved that they had potential, but only a bit. The boys clearly wanted to rock and show off their punkish influences, but, besides the single “Run the Red Light”, there was nothing too impressive.

The following year, they came back with Thieves, which dominated its predecessor right out of the gate with the catchy opener, “God Is Dead (Meet the Kids”. What follows is a collection of songs that wavers between decent and radio-friendly.

Some of the better tracks are “Put It Right Down”, which has a little Fall Out Boy to it, “Mona Lisa Overdrive”, “I Said I’m Sorry”, “Funeral For a Trend” and “Airport Tags”

Unfortunately, the band could not capitalize on its momentum when it released Avalanche in 2010. It was a complete dud, with nary a song worth mentioning.

Maybe they just needed a little more time off. After three years, they regrouped and put out Controller, which is chock full of catchy tunes and recasts the group as a force to be reckoned with in the Land of Oz.

The group veers closer to the pop realm compared to previous offerings. There’s the perfect table-setter of the opening “Plastic Souvenirs”, the ’90s punk-pop tinge of “Blinded” and vocals that call to mind The Music on “Summer Forgive Me”, as well as equally catchy tunes such as “We Don’t Need Anyone” and “Your Brand New Life”.

But easily the best track on the album — and their best to date, for that matter — is “I Can Make You Love Me”.

This album has the makings of a best-of-the-year contender. It’s hard to believe British India is practically unknown outside their native land. I only discovered them when they popped up during a random MOG session. Hopefully, they catch the ear of the right person pretty soon and break through in the States.


1 Comment »

  1. […] British India – Controller … Favorite song: “I Can Make You Love Me” […]

    Pingback by Best of 2013 – My list | Infinite Shuffle — January 2, 2014 @ 1:43 am

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