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The Mantles

The Mantles

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Album Review

The Mantles may hail from San Francisco and their self-titled album may have been released on Siltbreeze in 2009, but after listening to it, one would be excused for thinking the group hailed from Los Angeles and the album was released on Down There in 1986. Or that they were from Auckland and the record was released on Flying Nun in 1990. (Or even that they were from the Midwest, maybe Dayton, OH, and opened for Plasticland or Death of Samantha when they came through town.) They share the swirling guitar and organ textures of the Paisley Underground crowd, the chiming, chugging feel of classic New Zealand groups like the Chills, and the jangling, melodic songcraft of bands like Love and the Byrds (who inspired the Nuns and Undergrounders). The Mantles isn’t some studied nostalgia trip, though, despite how strong their influences come through. They escape it through strong songwriting, spirited performances, and the garagey energy that comes hopping off the grooves as the record spins. Songs like the pretty folk-rocker "Don’t Lie," the surging rockers "What We Do Matters" and "Yesterday’s Gone," or the a surprisingly soulful organ-led ballad "Look Away" make a strong case that the Mantles are almost on par with their inspirations. The rest of the album isn’t far behind, with the hits beating the duds 10-0. It’s an impressive debut album from a band that loves the past but doesn’t live in it.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Mantles — a sweet yet gritty San Francisco-based indie pop outfit rooted in 1960s garage rock, paisley underground, and the C-86 sound — started out as a three-piece consisting of frontman Michael Olivares, drummer Virginia Weatherby, and bassist Jermaine. The latter left the group early on, and bassist Matt Roberts and guitarist Drew Cramer were subsequently brought on board to round out the Mantles' lineup. The group's debut 7" EP, Burden/Walk with Me/The Garden/Trouble in the Streets,...
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The Mantles, The Mantles
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