Review: "Stay" - The Indien
"I really should've opened up," The Indien sang on their previous single, "Sleep When I'm With You." The gorgeous song introduced listeners to a relationship in turmoil. More importantly, however, it established the stakes for lead singer, Rianne Walther. "Cause I can only sleep when I'm with you," she sang, identifying the sense of comfort and safety that is pivotal in a strong relationship. Her latest single, "Stay," begins her journey to mending things. Rooted in the classic folk-pop and rock of Fleetwood Mac, The Indien are at their most timeless and expansive yet. "Stay" sources its remarkable beauty from the power of Walther's vocals. Her voice is elastic, stretching over vowels with such rounded intonation, reading somewhere between Dolly Parton and Jessica Pratt. "I'm afraid of loving you," she sings each word like curves on a winding road. While the instrumental paves a stable path in gravelly muted bass and sturdy drums, Walther is constantly adding dynamic new levels to "Stay." When she lifts into the angelic chorus, all she needs is that one word to brighten every anxiety and uncertainty expressed in the verses. Stretching it into a four syllable mantra, "Stay" is not a pleading request grasping at the ankles of a fleeing lover — it's the crack that lets the light in. Loving someone, as Walther concludes, is the act of opening yourself up to the parts you'd tried to hide.
Much of The Indien's lyricism is open-hearted and direct, as though Walther is penning an envelope-sealed letter for only one person. This is why it is all the more evocative when she melts fragments of detail into aching collages. "Crawlin' on the kitchen floor, dishes in the sink where you left me," she captures in the opening verse. The subtle turns of phrase is a perfect setup to the directness of her immediately following admission: "I just wasn't ready." Sometimes it's as though Walther's private reflections are battling against the reactive emotions that bubble up when she tries to express them. "You say I'm good enough, still I always seem to let you down." These moments are keenly aware of the work ahead to rekindle things, but the openness with which Walther sings them bodes well. "I don't wanna live like that," she repeats in the closing moments, "no more!" She rolls up her sleeves, yet sighs with relief.
The long-awaited debut album from the band, The Indien, is set to release in spring of 2024. The LP will feature "Stay," alongside previous singles "Be Yours," and "Sleep When I'm With You." Rianne Walther, band leader and lead singer, describes the groups music as fundamentally pop with an alternative twist. This "twist" is in her dynamic and soaring vocals, breadth of references, and intricate production. Building music off of live sessions, much of the band's production is then done at home, layering cinematic soundscapes over stripped-back percussion and Walther's distinct vocals. The Indien's debut album will be celebrated with a show at Paradiso Tolhuistuin on April 5, 2024.
Written By Andy M.
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