So then, what are today’s band trying to tell us? CINDY are a San Francisco based 4-piece consisting of guitarist/lead vocalist Karina Gill, guitarist Aaron Diko, bassist Jesse Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, and have recently released their new album “Free Advice” through Mt. St. Mtn. and Tough Love Records. The label got in touch via email advising me to check it out...whether I advise YOU to do so however remains to be seen.
The album opens up with “Discount Lawyer” and I’ll start with some free advice straight away. If you’re in a position where you do find yourself requiring a lawyer, don’t skimp...the last thing you want is your own defence lawyer shouting objection when the jury finds you NOT guilty. I digress...the track itself is a very subdued piece of hushed, lo-fi indie pop. The delicately strummed guitars are backed by an equally soft synth underlay, while Karina’s vocals are reduced to little more than a whispered, spoken word delivery, resulting in a very slow, stripped back, icy opener.
We follow this up with the first of two, yes two, album highlights...sounds specific but I counted all of them I promise. “Falcon Heavy” utilises a similar tone in terms of their writing and playing, with all of the same elements, but the guitars and percussion here, while still minimal are more up-beat, and the track has a more jovial, positive quirkiness as a result. It’s chirpy in its simplicity and quite a pleasant little listen. “Wrong Answer” then turns everything up a notch or two courtesy of some more assertive, fuzzy guitars and a more rock-based approach, despite the vocals still suffering from a lack of presence. With all of those positives out of the way however, there are still eight tracks to sit through, and I make that sound more encouraging than it is.
“Song 23” is only song five on the album, but feels like song two HUNDRED and three...the slow, dreary semi-acoustic piece of mellow instrumentation induces immediate sadness...take away the lyrics and it sounds like the rainy church scene in Disney’s Robin Hood, with the little mouse priest playing the organ in utter despondency in the face of hopelessness. Remember that? Depressed yet? I am. We have “A Song In French” which you’ll be shocked to learn isn’t in Japanese...there isn’t much to be said here really...take all of the above references to depression and translate them to French. Job done. “CSI Creeptown” to be honest sounds like a program I’d genuinely watch on TV, but sadly it isn’t an offshoot of the popular crime drama, what it IS, is more of the same, sombre indie.
This sadly, is a stylistic approach that the album sticks to rather rigidly, which by closing number “Lost On Me”, sums up exactly how I feel about the album as a whole. I’m sure there’s a market and audience for this, funeral parlours perhaps, but jokes aside, very little here grips you. As a mature piece of ambient shoegaze it’s so quaint in its presentation, but so utterly boring. iTunes, actually, U2, I apologise. Cindy...here’s some free advice...quit while you’re behind.