Phoenix Indigo makes songs that are dense in atmosphere yet at the same time have lovely melodies that are hugely earwormy. The last release I reviewed – ‘Mad Man’ – and this are examples.
‘Barricades (TAC)’ is electronica; electronica with depth, it would be wrong to describe this as pop. But at its heart it’s a song with a huge tune. Strip away the layers of sound washes and it would still be lovely. What I’m not saying here is that the electronica is overdone or overwhelms the song. Those subtle layers of sound add to the song rather than distract. It’s like a song played by a full band where at its heart it’s a song you can easily visualise as being played with just a simple keyboard or acoustic guitar.
That established, let’s say what makes this so good. I’ve already mentioned the tune, so I won’t repeat that. Firstly the vocals – Phoenix Indigo has a simple approach to his vocals, they’re quiet and understated. And there’s an art to the layers of sound – the wash that underpins the song, the piano that provides ‘a lead sound’, the lovely backing vocals, and finally and by no means least the strummed acoustic that you hear at the end.
And this song rewards repeated listening; as the words become clearer you begin to get that the atmospheric sounds help tell the story, the meaning, of the song. The depth of the vocal in the mix sonically indicates the walls in the song; you hear them as through a barrier. It’s words and music combining to tell us what the song is about and convey emotion.
All of these combined produce something moody and somewhat dark, unexpectedly emotional, and just lovely. Quietly impressive rather than gaudy or overstated. Something that sneaks up on you and before you know it has lodged itself deep in your mind.