Thursday, October 08, 2015

Album Review :: The Mantles - All Odds End

The Mantles

All Odds End

October 16 2015 (Slumberland Records)


Words: Richard O’Hagan

One of the most surprising things about The Mantles is that they’re not actually Scottish. That might sound like an odd statement to make about any band, but everything about The Mantles’ sound is redolent of the 1980’s Postcard Records and early Creation Records artists. At least half of the tracks on this, the third album from the Californian garage-poppers, are ones that you could easily stick Edwin Collins’ or Alex Taylor’s vocals over and imagine that you are back in 1986. This is ‘Doing It For The Kids’ done by those very kids.

Opening track ‘Island’ gets proceedings off to a nice jangly start and second number ‘Lay It Down’ doesn’t really deviate from the same formula of chiming guitars overlaid with Michael Olivares’ deliciously off-kilter vocals. Lead single – and   former member of the weekly top ten hereabouts - ‘Police My Love’ is a darker matter, with Matt Bullimore’s bass booming through Olivares’ intonations about love and despair, but it is a temporary deviation from the norm, as ‘Hate To See You Go’ is eager to prove.

Standout track is ‘Undelivered’, as Justin Loney’s guitar finds its ‘Hawaiian’ setting and rings out a glorious melody which underpins a lyric so mournful it is hard to believe that anyone would have the temerity to pin it to such a beautiful tune.

The only thing which brings this record down is a weak middle section. ‘Lonely’, the token slow, acoustic, number, is very average and, frankly, Olivares’ idiosyncratic voice can’t carry that lack of instrumentation, whilst the track which follows it, ‘Doorframe’, has about as much life as that very object, despite some clever wordplay.

Producer Jason Quever put off a house move to work on this album and his time certainly hasn’t been wasted as this is a sparkling little gem of an album which is guaranteed to entertain, if not provoke overwhelming nostalgia in some.

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