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Judging Air India based on the Secret Machine EP, the band is lyrically naïve and musically competent but not spectacular and certainly not unique. Vocalist Karla Velikan’s voice is nice enough, a gentle croon over the persistently chugging power chords, but it lacks the emotion to send you soaring with the angels. On one hand, Air India sounds like a local version of Lacuna Coil, and nothing more.
But there is another hand. Because despite all of the above, there’s something fascinating about the tunes, the hooks, that these guys have dreamed up. Maybe that’s because, as they say on the press release, “The members of Air India are longtime friends and the group writes songs collaboratively.”
They also say that, “Velikan’s stream of consciousness lyrics explore themes of self-discovery, sleep, and human connection while the band’s musical approach is defined by the nuanced interplay of Brad Richards’ guitar and Gary Watt’s keyboard work.” We don’t know about the nuances, although we can buy the stream of consciousness claim.
Final song “Red Shiny Things” is easily the best. Subtlety creeps in, the band sits on the clutch a little, and as a result we’re left with a tune with a touch of the epic about it.
Air India has potential. This is, after all, the band’s debut record. Right now, it’s just another local band, and in Detroit we have a lot of them. Must do better.