Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (19/09/14).
In less than a year, electro pop singer-songwriter Indiana (formally known as Laura Henson) has emerged from the abyss of obscurity and successfully unveiled herself as one to watch. With a string of well-received releases behind her (stomping club anthem ‘Solo Dancing’ ranking highest), the Midlands songstress has built up an impressive following in quite a short amount of time. A slot on Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record Of The Week’ made sure of that, along with festival appearances across the country.
The hypnotising intro of album opener ‘Never Born’ lures the listener into a false sense of security before intensifying into a foreboding Bjork-esque urgency, with Henson angstily stating “I’m gonna make you wish you were never born”. As the sequence progresses, the intense emotional baggage scattered throughout the album becomes paramount; from the aforementioned fury to brazen defiance, moving to vulnerability and seductive confidence. The range of sentiment woven into No Romeo illustrates Indiana as a more emphatic artist, one whose craft is only heightened by the sonic dexterity of her music.
With the album’s use of melodrama, electric guitar riffs (hoorah!), rippling synths and sultry beats, its evident this Nottingham novice is determined to prevent becoming yet another link in the electronic music chain. Elsewhere, the balladry of ‘Blind As I Am’ shows off Henson’s impressive vocal range, whilst the minimalist yet gritty ‘Bound’ disrupts the warm semi-industrial fusion of ‘Play Dead’ and textured pulsation of most recent single ‘Heart On Fire’.
For a debut album, No Romeo is surprisingly accomplished. The vocal performance is staunch and the accompanying arrangements are enjoyable, though glitchy pop takes over towards the end, leaving tracks ‘Calibrated Love’ and ‘Only The Lonely’ borderline redundant when compared to the darkly emotive earlier efforts. Henson evidently has a clear vision for her moniker, and Indiana, hand in hand with No Romeo surely has some of the resolve it takes to fight her way through the sea of her contemporaries.