The Mantles confuse me. This isn’t surprising, I’m easily confused, but in terms of San Francisco musical talents, The Mantles probably confuse me the most. I blame this almost entirely on a lengthy period in both my musical adoration and the San Francisco scene’s evolution where everything (at least everything I was getting pumped in to my ears) was loosely defined as “garage rock”. Everything was a little fuzzy, everything was a little jangly and for a moment The Mantles fit right in. They had jangle, they had fuzz, and I lumped their sound in to the broad swath of every other musical act that helped to paint that sonic picture.
Now, only a few years, later, The Mantles sound, well, different. Instead of the grimy garage I’d grown used to, they’ve stripped away the grit, and what remains is a cleaner, poppier remainder. Some bastard child of the band I remember and a melodic bit of downer-pop that just strutted in to the studio and took right over, leaving the band that I admittedly remember incorrectly, on the curb. That said, I’m glad the band The Mantles has become is so different from the band I badly remember. Where I couldn’t pull a single track name out of the blur of garage I originally was so sure The Mantles were part of, Shadow Of Your Step is a beautiful, bit of drifter-rock, and both Brown Balloon and Hello are mature bits of pop with just the slightest hint of garage’s crunchy guitar clinging to their side. The Mantles I wrongly remembered might be gone, but if this is the band that fills that void, then, well, change is all for the better.
:The Mantles – Shadow Of Your Step:
:The Mantles – Brown Balloon:
:The Mantles – Hello: