If you’re in need of a change from bumping the usual pop and hip-hop hits, take a chance on White Label Analog, an indie rock band of sorts from Austin, Texas. The new band is just budding on the scene, having released their debut album "In Case You Just Tuned In" in late August.
“'In Case You Just Tuned In' is a veritable snapshot of our lives since releasing (our 2015 EP) 'A Little More Time.' A reflection of our ideas, feelings, and the experiences we’ve all shared,” drummer and vocalist Heath Macintosh says on their official band website (whitelabelanalog.com). The group claims they are not interested in trying to restrain their music by forcing it to fit a particular genre.
Their music flavor tastes familiar, however, and it might have something to do with the work of mixing engineer Mark Needham on the album, who worked for The Killers, Neon Trees, and Imagine Dragons.
Take, for example, the tracks “Turn to Dust” and “Awakened By the Fire,” each with upbeat, punchy instrumental openings. These tracks certainly feel distinctly “indie,” reminding me of what Vampire Weekend did with the preppy opening of "Oxford Comma" and the rhythm of Two Door Cinema Club’s "Undercover Martyn."
This tendency, however, is not at all consistent. White Label Analog certainly has range, with songs like "Echoes," the lead single, heading more into rock vibes. One of my favorite tracks is probably “Off the Wall,” a fun twist compared to the other tunes on the album. The song is very Franz Ferdinand-esque, and the only single opening with vocals rather than solely instrumentals. The lyrics are packed with sass, with gold lines such as, “I don’t care if I see your friends, they’re all fake anyway,” and “I can’t feel anything at all/because I took your picture off the wall.” Talk about a moving-on anthem.
Their lack of a specific sound definitely doesn’t hurt. White Label Analog has a playfulness and openness with style that indicates a group serious about expanding and growing. Art is about exploration and having fun; even if sometimes the lyrics are hard to connect to, White Label Analog are on the right track for making a name for themselves.
The only song on the album that really disappoints is “Rainmaker”—a cheap and easy femme fatale piece. The entire song is made up of metaphors for a dangerously attractive woman: “a minefield waiting for the right time.” Yawn.
For a debut album, though, having one or two bad tracks is not at all a bad thing, and White Label Analog’s transparent passion and exploration overwhelmingly makes up for any disappointment. Listening to their album may regularly give listeners a sense of deja vu—I kept stopping and asking myself, “Where did I hear that rhythm before?” But there’s no doubt about it—this group is going places.