Categorized | Music, Reviews

Album Review: RX Bandits – Mandala

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Mylynda Guthrie

The RX Bandits’ first album said it all: Progress.

For those of you that are already fans of the RX Bandits, you know that with each album their sound progresses and changes. Listeners should not expect the same thing from two different albums, and Mandala is no exception. For those of you that are just getting to know the band, now is as good a time as any.

Mandala has an underlying tragic yet inspiring theme that is present in both their meaningful rhythmic sections and their hard hitting experimental accents,  which together dance the line of becoming noise. From the open and explosive first track “My Lonesome Only Friend,” the mood is set for the album.  Mandala starts out in a heavy and intricate way. The tracks scream of intense creativity from not only front man Matt Embree, but from the entire band.

The album slows down partway through, and though these few songs lack some of the impacting progressive rock elements that originally caught my ear, they step up in a meaningful, deep-rooted way that fits right in with the band.

With the loss of horns in this album, the group’s reggae roots have been turned down but not entirely lost. Tracks such as “March of the Caterpillar” and “Bury it Down Low” show that the RX Bandits haven’t forgotten where they came from. “Breakfast Cat” pushes the experimental envelope that has been ever present with the band, and reminds me to spend some time this weekend listening to the RX Bandits’ side project The Sound of Animals Fighting. The album’s journey is summed up in the thought provoking and emotional ender, “Bring Our Children Home, or Everything is Nothing.”

Mandala is a well thought out and deliberate journey that shows both the band members love of the music and love of their message. They invest themselves in the music and it shows.  Their best work to date, Mandala is a perfect example of what the RX Bandits stand for: Progression.

-Mike Call

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