Opening with a SRV style Texan shuffle, Indigenous, or rather the remaining core band member, guitarist Mato Nanji's sets out his stall early with an opener that is heavy on the back beat and soulful growl of a vocal and together with a lilting chorus works a smouldering tension that you just know will sooner or later be resolved by a guitar break.
In fact Mato holds back on the heavy duty guitar playing until the following riff driven “I’ll Be Waiting”, while the up tempo “Number Nine Train” has a Jimmy Reed style urgency about it before Mato exuberantly lets rip on a succinct solo that combines a tremulous tone with fiery precision and takes the song to its conclusion.
Given that this was apparently the first album after the original line-up split due to different musical aspirations, “Chasing the Sun” doesn’t deviate much from the tried and tested rock blues format. That said there are a couple of ballads of which “Come on Home” is a tougher rendition of the kind of song The Eagles might not have shied away from!
And while overall good songs are in short supply – possibly the reason the band split up after this album – there’s a fine radio oriented effort on “Fool Me Again” which builds up a head of steam on the back of a catchy chorus. Having scored big early in their career with an Album of the Year and Group of the Year award Indigenous won’t be judged so much by their playing ability as by the songs, after all at this point they were already established at the top of the jammers league. But like other near miss projects such as the Arc Angels before them, they seem to have reached a crossroads on this album. The question is whether to pursue further outright commercial approach at the expense of comprising their cutting edge or to remain in the same niche they had been mining for a number of years.
In many ways ‘Chasing The Sun’ is as good a repost as possible, but in a market place that by 2006 was already top heavy with SRV/Hendrix clones, this album doesn’t quite offer enough to set the band aside from the rest of the field.
On the well crafted “Feel Alright” they pursue the kind of guitar driven mid tempo rocker that is easy on the ear but hardly memorable. The following tougher riff driven motif of “The Way You Shake” is probably closer to the band’s true intent, being all powerful edgy distorted guitar lines and busy cymbal splashes. But then its case of one step forward and one step back as the hugely derivative Steve Ray Vaughan instrumental “Out of Nowhere” in truth offers nothing new to either SRV or Indigenous fans.
“Leaving” will probably turn out to be the fans favourite as it combines a Robin Trower/Hendrixy guitar tone with a predicable ‘woke up this morning’ refrain and lyrics about having to leave. This track more than anything shows both Mato’s wonderful playing ability but also the predictability of the material.
That Indigenous are both an exciting guitar led jam band is not in dispute, but perhaps “Chasing the Sun” is an example of high expectations not being realised. Had another band cut this album rock-blues fans might well have been hailing them as the next big thing. Given the cult status of the band at the time of this recording, it was more a case of more of the same rather than a next step up.