Simpler Things – Indira May (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I have always been one to advocate evolution over revolution. Revolution might give you the impetus to jump the barricades, but what you build when you land on the other side is still going to be, in some ways, beholden to what has gone before. It was true in my formative post-punk years, it is as true today.

Simpler Things, the new 5 track ep from Indira May is the sound of evolution at work. It’s a supple and subtle blend of past blues and jazz vibes, and the utmost sonic modernity dancing a seductive waltz across the contemporary musical landscape.

There are moments when she leans further into the past, or at least a stylish reworking of the past, such as with tracks like B-Side and then there are moments, such as with the title track which kicks things off, where a sort of glitchy and raw minimalism slowly builds into something more poised as if showing the working out in the margins or the engine under the hood before it adorns itself in more traditional sounds and styles to present a more produced and finished article.

Mama Said is the sweetest slice of modern soul-pop and things are rounded off with her current single, When I Hear The Music, another masterful merging of a classic past and a cutting edge present.

If there is revolution in the air then it is behind the scenes with Trash, the label that she has set up with video producer Hattie Jackson with the ethos of being “run by women. for everyone”. Music is always changing, moving with the times and so the structures which act as a platform must move with it.

The most glorious aspect of Indira’s music is its broad appeal and universality that sees her equally at home performing at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s as she would be at any number of mainstream pop festivals. 

Trad jazzers will recognise the class and quality of the music, pop-pickers the infectiousness, those with more mainstream tastes will find lots to love in her voice and sonic arrangements and even the more urban, hip-hop and soul underground will recognise her as one of their own. In fact, it is hard to imagine just who won’t fall in love with this e.p. immediately.

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