The Mantles have been playing since 2007 and 2009 marked their first full length album. The band has been hard at work since, refining their sound and becoming the best they can be. Long Enough To Leave draws some inspiration from the psychedelia scene and wraps it up in their own little format. They play by their own rules while staying true to their style.
Long Enough To Leave immediately comes off as a garage inspired, dreamy indie experience. Hypnotic guitar melodies and pulsating rhythms ring throughout each song and showcase The Mantles’ sound. The third track, “Reason’s Run,” depicts band’s style perfectly. Upbeat guitar riffs and droning vocals create a surrealistic, atmospheric piece. The next song, “Hello,” shows off some of The Mantles’ classic psychedelic influence. It’s as if the bands Vanilla Fudge and The Mamas & The Papas had an indie child called The Mantles.
But is the album a complete throwback? Not at all. At times, the band crosses into surf-rock territory, and The Mantles are easily more of an indie-pop band than they’ll ever be psychedelic rockers. This isn’t bad, however; today bands commonly try to reproduce certain sounds for the sake of paying homage to their favorite classics, and yet The Mantles manage to produce their own style of music. Rather than putting on some colorful, flashy shirt and playing a five minute long guitar solo, The Mantles would rather stay true to themselves, sing some haunting lyrics, and play with curious change-ups in chord progressions. It’s not a unique experience, but it’s a lovely change of pace.
On the flip side, Long Enough To Leave accomplishes nothing groundbreaking, and as good as it is, there’s nothing special here. Maybe it’s smarter to play it safe sometimes, but The Mantles seemed to play it too safe. Each song seems to sound like the last, and every song seems to sound vaguely familiar of that one you heard on that obscure college radio. Simply put, Long Enough To Leave has its quirks, and it’s a decent album, but it has no awe inspiring moment. Each song is remarkably unremarkable, and unfortunately, it debases the album overall.
Even if The Mantles didn’t create some sort of blockbuster, Long Enough To Leave is worth it’s thirty minutes of bliss. The poppy rhythms and twangy guitar melodies are pretty great; and along with the hazy and whiney vocals, the album becomes a fairly decent listen at the end of the day. As a Slumberland Records album, Long Enough To Leave fits right in, and The Mantles have forged a series of wonderful little songs. Fans of the label or other indie endeavors need to listen to this one; anybody hoping to build their library into something more serene and sentimental should probably give it a listen too.