All Odds End

The Mantles

Slumberland Records, 2015

http://themantles.tumblr.com

REVIEW BY: Ludwik Wodka

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/03/2015

Hailing from San Francisco, The Mantles delivers their fifth album in as many years, All Odds End. Musically, it continues right where its predecessors Long Enough To Leave (2013) and Memory (2014) left off. By this point, The Mantles has honed their signature sound with songs that are catchy, straightforward and compelling, with a bright, upbeat feel to them.

Their sound invites comparisons with The Byrds and The Velvet Underground, but they never lower themselves to a mere imitation of those groups. More contemporary peers would include bands like Crystal Stilts and Brilliant Colors (both of whom recorded on the Slumberland label). This release is high-energy, lo-fi pop with strong retro flavors, giving the music a kind of immediacy. Perhaps “lo-fi” is misleading, as I am not knocking the production, only that it has eschewed much of the slick and processed sounding recordings which otherwise takes the edge off most songs. Done in this fashion, this disc sounds like it was recorded live, making the music seem more organic and natural. The familiar and classic style of rock/pop melodies on display here are well crafted and catchy. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

While the songs are generally good, I have to confess that that the vocals did not really impress me. The rather limited range of the vocals do not necessarily hurt the songs but rather hold them back from being great. 

The album opens with the quick-strumming “Island,” followed by two of the album’s highlights, “Lay It Down” and “Police My Love.” The brisk pacing downshifts to the slower “Lately” and the mid-tempo “Doorframe.” The pacing changes up again with the skipping beat and chiming twelve-string guitar lines of “Undelivered,” returning full-circle to the upbeat energy with the closing track “Stay.”

While the sound of All Odds End is very focused and consistent, this works as both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, this band has found their sound, knows what works, and sticks to it. On the other, it results in a homogeneity that can make some of the songs hard to distinguish from one another the first time through. Although I enjoyed listening to it, and although it seemed to have all the right ingredients, it still felt like something was missing – something for me to latch onto, something to keep me coming back for more.  

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2015 Ludwik Wodka and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Slumberland Records, and is used for informational purposes only.