Indie surrealism is the order of the day with this five-piece of psych obsessives, who show that our connection to music is more than just skin deep.
“You could think of it like taking a colour and trying to divide it by a letter,” says Joe Mansergh when we ask him to describe his band’s style. “The initial idea comes from somewhere so far out it becomes void of any conscious corruption.”
Are you any closer to knowing what makes THE INDICA GALLERY tick? No, thought not. But with this quintet of psych-aligned indie shufflers, that’s part of their charm. The warmth of their pastoral ditties lifts as much from the classic songwriters (Lennon and Arthur Lee) as it does from the revivalist indie of Neon Waltz and Submarine-era Alex Turner. And it’s a heritage they wear proudly.
“It’s driven completely by ideational lyrics: sonically, it has this weird mathematical pairing of a 50s/60s sensibility laced with a melting pot of every guitar band you’ve eventually learnt to loathe,” Joe explains. “It’s insight music, the result of the left-hemisphere attempting to ride shotgun with the right.”
Citing the whimsical guitar balladry of Connan Mockasin and Mac DeMarco as influences, the five mates from Liverpool show an ability to filter their musical lineage through contemporary stylings. They might be named after the swinging 60s gallery where John and Yoko met, but retro obsessives they ain’t.
“Like most self-confessed charity shoppers,” Joe continues, “we started out on a heavy diet of Oasis and Eminem, but quickly learned to shun both in an attempt to stay relevant with our leather-clad peers. It seems to me that music is one of those things that’s very hard to conceptualise or capture in a linear sense, so if you have the sort of brain that needs cold, rigid answers but still craves a certain type of mythology, it can suddenly become like a lifelong femme fatale to soft boys like ourselves.”
Songwriting and making music offers the chance to process your emotions and make sense of the world, which is something that The Indica Gallery seem more than comfortable with. Pointing to an “innate inability to properly deal with certain emotions for various reasons”, Joe likens the group’s reasons for making music as “an itch that something has to be said and channelled into something positive. We care a lot about people and there’s a certain element of desiring the sort of connection which enables others a voice, whether it be the most personal love ballad or a scathing news report we’re trying to write, it all comes from the same place”.
But is that all it means? Is it just art for art’s sake? Music has to have some deeper connection, surely, or else we’d all be pouring our heart into angst-ridden symphonies on our lunch break. For Joe, and the rest of the band, that hunger for music runs deep. “It’s like the cry of the last dodo,” he exclaims, when asked why music is so important to him. “No one will ever understand its significance or beauty until it’s probably too late. How stale might the world be without it? How underdeveloped would we be as a people? I think we’re starting to see wisps of that notion in the shallowness of modern society; it feels like the mainstream media, more so than ever, is dumbing down the circulation of true artistic expression because of the overpowering capitalist nature of the industry. That’s why it’s hard for us to listen to the radio.”
So there you have it: music is our salvation, our looking glass, our way of understanding the madness of the world around us. And now you have The Indica Gallery to help along the way.
The Indica Gallery play 81 Renshaw on 14th February.