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'Can We Stay The Same?'   

-  Label: 'Self Released'
-  Genre: 'Pop' -  Release Date: '15th March 2019'

Our Rating:
The songs on this album are unapologetically positive with plenty of affirmative lyrics about chasing dreams and advocating the advantages of staying true to one's own beliefs.

Many could, and will, dismiss such messages as overly sentimental or even naive but to do so would be to miss the fact that this is pop with a purpose that implicitly asks : Who needs dystopia anyway?

The optimistic visions are not blind to the darker side of life but the singer steadfastly prefers to remain on the sunny side of the street.

And what, after all is the alternative? Perhaps Iceland's bizarre entry in this year's Eurovision Song Contest - Hatari's 'Hatrid Mun Sigra (Hate Will Prevail) - could be regarded as more in touch with the real world with lyrics about life's purposeless confusion but the image of staring despondently into an all-consuming void isn't exactly life-affirming.

In marked contrast, Indira's underlying premise and promise is that, even when things seem to going badly, it is love not hate that will prevail. Take Your Own Advice has hints of worldbeat rhythms, Almost Love has a Byrds-like jangle and the whole package is driven by the philosophy that we can be the change we want to see in the world.

Indira is Bosnian-born Indira Sultanić now based in Richmond, Virginia while Guppy Jo comprises a three man backing band that includes husband Andrew Ullman on drums.

For the sake of transparency I should declare a vested interest in this record. I was introduced to it after having the good fortune to meet Indira at a translation conference in Italy. Since she is as charming in person as she is on disc it's easy to be won over by the feel-good factor she expresses.

Ok, there are, perhaps, a few too many la-la choruses and many tracks are a bit too drawn out but these are minor criticisms when the overall mood is so irresistibly upbeat. It's all about the joy that comes from letting the heart rule the head.

Angry Waters is the longest and most ambitious track helped by the impressive contribution of Gary Jungeberg on lead guitar who is given free reign to indulge in an extended solo that has echoes of Neil Young's epic 'Like A Hurricane'.

When I asked Indira what kind of music she made she was reluctant to be pinned down to just one genre. I have opted to call it pop but she quoted a friend who told her it was best just to describe it as 'awesome'.

Let's agree to a compromise and say this is an awesome pop record.

  author: Martin Raybould

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INDIRA & GUPPY JO - Can We Stay The Same?