Personnel: Michael Olivares, Justin Loney (guitar); Carly Putnam (keyboards); Virginia Weatherby (drums).
Audio Mixer: Jason Quever.
Recording information: 02/25/2015-03/02/2015.
Photographer: David Armstrong.
On the Mantles' third album, All Odds End, there may be a change to the band's lineup with the addition of fellow Bay Area band Legs' Matt Bullimore on bass, but the sound remains the same. The album is another fine collection of jangling, pulsing, poppy neo-psych that's equally influenced by classic Flying Nun, the best of the paisley underground, and everything else good that's happened in non-noisy indie rock since 1982 or so. Built around Michael Olivares' wistful vocals, the chiming interplay between his and Justin Loney's guitars, Virginia Weatherby's simple but sturdy drumming, and Carly Putnam's understated keys, the songs are instantly rewarding. Each one feels like an old friend stopping by after a long spell away, recognizable yet still a little different than before. What keeps them (the songs) from feeling stuck in nostalgia is the craft that goes into them, the subtle hooks, and Olivares' tender soul that radiates through every line. He's no virtuoso behind the mike; still, it's easy to identify with the earnest humanity of his voice as he sings of uneasy transition and change. Kicking off with the catchiest song, "Island," All Odds End runs through a handful of uptempo, driving tracks sure to get the pulse quickening and comparisons to the Clean dusted off. Stopping for breath with the acoustic ballad "Lately," the album downshifts into more melancholic territory with the warmly drawn "Door Frame" and calmly loping "Undelivered" added to the mix before it ends with the second catchiest song, the franticly rollicking "Stay." It's a well-plotted, perfectly sequenced record that sounds great (thanks to the production help and arranging skills of Papercuts' Jason Quever) and leaves the listener wanting more. Of all the bands that share similar interests and influences, the Mantles prove again on All Odds End that they are one of the best at translating them into something all their own. ~ Tim Sendra