‘Solo Dancing’ by Nottingham born singer-songwriter Lauren Henson (known by stage name Indiana) hit number 1 in the iTunes alternative chart and number 14 in the UK singles chart earlier this year leaving a high anticipation for following debut album No Romeo.
Imagine a fusion of New Order and Lana Del Rey at their ultimate novice and you have No Romeo. The talent is there, but it’s not exactly being put to good use… or any use at all. No Romeo is a record crammed with electronic beats, profound lyrics and brassy vocals that add a dark and vengeful twist to lyricism based tightly around relationships and breakups.
Indiana’s impressive vocal range is highly showcased throughout the album, although the harsher background synth ruins it quite a lot. Instrumentally, No Romeo could have benefited from some serious rethinking and adding of other instruments… Literally any other instrument, as the whole album consists of nothing but dull, unexciting electronic beats. The recurring booming sound in ‘New Heart’ that sounds like a broken synth from the late 1970s gives the impression that it’s the first time that Indiana has ever touched a synthesizer in her life. As for the rest of No Romeo, the highly repetitive synthesizers resemble substandard 80s synth pop (colossally crappy musical chaos).
Putting the perturbing instrumental aspect of the record aside, Indiana’s vocals and lyricism throughout are nothing short of astounding. The thirteen tracks on No Romeo show Indiana as a sharp and capable narrator as she colourfully brings songs to life with her poignant vocal palette and lyrically allows us to explore a gamut of temperaments all true to Indiana’s distinctive visions especially on tracks like ‘Never Born’ ‘Play Dead’ and ‘Mess Around’.
Undeniably, with a swift push and vast addition of instruments and musical depth No Romeo could’ve been improved but it’s too late for that now and all we can do is accept it for what it is… Amateur at its best.