- The Snake Head
- Live (A Little)
- Low Swing Chariot
You usually can not judge a book by its cover (Or CD for that matter) or else you might end up listening to something you would not expect at all. The cover of “You Only Live Forever” is an entirely different story.
When I look at the cover, I see two completely different sides of things; The soft side and the rough edges, and textures. The light of the moon is almost trance-like as it intensifies at its’ core and swirls into the abyss, fading into darkness. The mountains also have a story to tell. At first glance they have a hard edge and appear to be sharp spikes standing tall and forbiddingly. But take a close look, and you will see many layers of texture and color in the large ridges. This adds a whole other level of beauty and intrigue into what once seemed like something so simple.
My Mantle carries this complexity and awe-inspiring detail into their sound. What on the surface may seem like straightforward indie rock is so much more once delved into. While I would not typically do a song by song format review, I feel the fact that there are only three songs and that each song is so intricate deserves a more in depth look to each one:
The Snake Head: Starting off with an aggressive riff, I was figuring this to be just another run of the mill indie rock release on first listen. However as Jamie Currie’s oaring vocals broke the plain, my skeptic defenses were not only lowered a bit, but obliterated. I thought if nothing else, the vocals on this release would win me over. To my glee at about the 1:20 mark the other instruments matched Currie’s skill and precision as a subtle build up leads to a trilling guitar lead that dives head first into a driving, melodic riff. The instrumental section over the bridge of the song provides some bite to it, with crunchy guitars snarling over top of subtle leads, while harmonizing vocals escalate above the the rabble. All of this comes to a screeching halt, for a morose bridge that gives the song a very complete feeling.
Live (A Little): This track kicks off with a very danceable intro, complete with bubbly synths that add to the overall effervescent sound. Once to the verse, the music shifts to a beat driven feel, lead by the rhythm section of Tyler Nobles and Jordan Peters. The chorus of this track is a place where Currie shines the most, as his vocals skyrocket above the proverbial mountains that adorn the cover of the album as he proclaims, “..I am yours in this dance, I am yours in this dance…”. The second verse finds guitarists Jon Arcouette and Chancelor Reeder inject playful, yet technical riffs into the mix. All of this is just to build up to the last third of the song; a beautiful instrumental section where each member is able to show their individual prowess while still functioning as a cohesive group. The group keeps the dance vibes going on the bass and drum side of things while the guitars begin to paint their own reverb drenched soundscape that makes the perfect listen whilst driving at night.
Low Swing Chariot: The most atmospheric of the bunch, Low Swing Chariot begins with soft crooning from Currie while the instruments and vocal harmonies creating a hauntingly stunning backdrop. At about the two minute mark, the band begins to build up to the pinnacle of the song, as guitars begin to swirl into a frenzy, while drums back things in a tight and technical manner, and Currie roughs up his voice a bit to do some shouting. The band then allows things to fizzle out a bit as feedback and squeals abound, only for things to quickly jump back up to the stunning apex of sounds. A pseudo breakdown, similar to something My Epic might throw around, catches the listener off guard right before the album comes to an all too soon rest.
Overall: My Mantle is a band that truly have a future ahead of them. While they take elements from music that is quite popular, they are able to put their own spin on it and make it interesting and unique. They are also a band that has successfully mastered the art of mixing melody with a smattering of crunch. I know that I have been guilty of saying this quite a bit in my recent reviews, but My Mantle is a band that I am truly excited to see what they can come up with next.
RIYL: My Epic, SONS, Ascend the Hill