Indigenous has made a name for themselves with a blues-rock sound that is filled with blistering guitar solos. On their latest, Broken Lands, the band scales back the intensity and turns up the emotional factor to mixed results.
The opener “Should I Stay” is classic Indigenous with the killer guitar solo and contemplative lyrics like the chorus closer, “leaving you is too hard for me to do.” The following track, “Eyes of a Child,” is a bluesy waltz that sounds as if it’s unnecessarily slowed-down and drags on a little.
Indigenous has seen changes since their last album, Chasing the Sun. For over a decade, the band has been a family band. But bassist/brother Pte, drummer/sister Wanbdi and percussionist/cousin Horse left to pursue other musical avenues, leaving Mato, the lead singer/guitarist/face-of-Indigenous to bring in other musicians to fill out the band. That change, plus the addition of his wife Leah, co-writing all but one track and singing the background vocals has made the band sound quite different. The lyrics are more personal than their previous releases.
Now does this make Broken Lands better than anything that Indigenous has put out? Well, the songs are more controlled which isn’t bad, but Nanji’s guitar solos sound stilted. He doesn’t let loose on any of his solos, which is one of the big reasons for listening to the band. But even without that, the album is still worth a listen, even if it takes two or three times to get accustomed to their new sound.