What defines a killer tune? Catchy guitar riff, pumping rhythm, and a perfect combination of opposites, such as energy and melancholia. You can find this all in Melbourne four-piece British India’s single, Wrong Direction. Singer and guitarist Declan Melia said the song came together effortlessly.
It’s the fourth track in their latest record, Nothing Touches Me, that opens with an even better melody – Spider Chords is masterfully produced; it has a very lo-fi sound, sampled verses at the beginning, a lulling guitar and explodes in the middle only to end in a quiet way, as it started. Following Angela is another beautifully crafted pop rock song with an upbeat sound while new single, Suddenly, confirms British India can write melodies that carve themselves into our minds. Blame It All On Me is a ballad that sounds like a nursery rhyme and Jay Walker is a true emotional punch, with its lyrical honesty and raw sound – these love songs show the more nostalgic and heartfelt face of love, while Angela makes for the bright and vigorous part. The title-track opens with some kind of quarrel, then Melia starts his singing which becomes dramatically loud in the chorus, making it sound more honest when the narrator says “Nothing touches me/ You’re never gonna break my heart” – this song again is powerful and full of anger and shows Melia’s talents as a vocalist.
Come Home is dominated by layered vocals, one of the band’s trade-mark, while Lifeguard begins almost like a funky-soul track while the opening part of the very last track, Departure Lounge, reminds me of Vampire Weekend.
Nothing Touches Me is British India’s fifth record, the follow-up to 2013’s Controller, which was the third consecutive LP to make the ARIA top ten, after 2010’s Avalanche and 2008’s Thieves. Since their debut in 2007, with LP named Guillotine, the Melbournians have polished their sound, improved their skills and turned into an indie band capable of delivering some memorable anthems. In this record there aren’t letdowns, although I wouldn’t have minded some more experimentation.