The Mantles – Long Enough To Leave

mantlesRating: ★★★½☆

San Francisco and the Bay Area has been long time famous for their psychedelic pop and rock music, so it’s no surprise that The Mantles hail from the West Coast, and this area specifically. In 2009 they released their self-titled debut, which made for a running start for the band, and put their name out for fans to gather behind. That first album won people over with its tighter approach to jangly rock music, and Long Enough to Leave is set to do the same.

First up to start the jangly jams is “Marbled Birds,” which features some prominent precision riffs and gentle, far away percussion. The song itself feels very laid back and easy, but the lyrics, given to you swiftly by vocalist Michael Olivares, paint a picture a bit more complex than you’d imagine for a garage rock band like The Mantles. This imagery, evoked early on, hooks you on what this group is putting out, and lets you know from the start that this is not going to be one of those throwaway albums that you burn through a few times and then sits on your shelf. Though the album isn’t exactly filled with exceptionally long tracks and you do move from track to track fairly quickly, each number turns out to be more detailed in lyrics than you’d expect, and more tightened up within the loops of electric guitar buzzing in the background.

My one and only qualm with Long Enough to Leave is that some stretches of the album tend of blur together. Sometimes, the distant percussion leaves too much to the vocals and guitars to carry the music and lends itself to a lack of variety to separate out the songs. Alas, this is thankfully not the case for the whole album, as the band spices the music up with standout tracks at beginning, middle and end. One of these exceptional numbers, and contender for best song of the album is middle of the road; track five, “Raspberry Thighs.” Something about this song, perhaps the softer vocals from Olivares, or the more tender guitar parts gives it this beautifully nostalgic feel to it, though it isn’t any slower or radically different than the other numbers; the differences are subtle, yet effective in changing the pace of perception.

At the end of Long Enough to Leave, you finish strong with the penultimate track being yet another highlight in “More That I Pay.”  This time it’s fast and high energy for the group—short and sweet leading into the slower burning last track to round things out. The album is all in an all interesting and encourages repeated listens, which is sometimes not the case for jangly garage rock. Have a listen or two.

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