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Mandala

RX Bandits

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Album Review

On their sixth studio album, the California ska-rockers have stripped down their sound, excising a few horns here and there, but retaining the buoyant feel of their previous work. And while the blue beat emerges on almost every track, the songs explode far beyond the simple upstroke-upstroke aesthetic. "Hope Is a Butterfly, No Net Its Captor, She Beats Her Wings and Softly Sings of Summer Scent and Children's Laughter (Virus of Silence)" is as multifaceted a musical suite as the name suggests, reeling from proggy bombast to concise, pop-punk emoting to snaky reggae. "Bring Our Children Home or Everything Is Nothing" is a similarly complex vortex of sound that meshes galloping punk with Latin rhythms, driven by the prodigious drumming of Chris Tsagakis. The exploratory writing hits more than misses, on a set of songs that shiver with wit and moxie.

Biography

Formed: 1997 in Seal Beach, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Emerging from Orange County's thriving ska-punk scene, RX Bandits quickly made a name for themselves as a unit willing to take musical risks and lyrical stances, largely thanks to lead singer and guitarist Matt Embree, whose songwriting continued to evolve in a more progressive direction as RX Bandits grew to their eventual complement of six. Formed in 1995 as Pharmaceutical Bandits, the original lineup featured Embree, bassist Franz J. Worth, drummer Chris Tsagakis, Noah Gaffney on sax, and Rich...
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Mandala, RX Bandits
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