Mandy, Indiana don’t make sense. Three Mancunians and a Parisian got here collectively beneath a reputation impressed by Gary, Indiana—a Rust Belt image of post-industrial American decline—to make a sound that thrashes like an indignant Hydra. Each time you assume you’ve got Mandy, Indiana cornered, they mutate once more. You would name their music post-punk, digital, or noise, however no single style signifier satisfactorily conveys what they do. That is by design. Mandy, Indiana commerce in chaos and extreme contrasts. Their startling debut album, i’ve seen a manner, is an unsettling catalog of societal ills that takes the type of a churning maelstrom.
Mandy, Indiana’s origins return to 2016, when vocalist Valentine Caulfield and Mandy mastermind Scott Honest met at a Manchester membership; the lineup is now rounded out by Simon Catling on synths and Alex Macdougall on drums. From the start—early singles like “Berlin,” or “Bottle Episode,” a standout from 2021’s … EP—their sound was a transfixing mix of violence and transcendence: dance rhythms knocked askew, corroded guitars and synths fed into the gears of malfunctioning equipment, Caulfield seething in her native French. i’ve seen a manner partially aligns with the latest crop of adventurous guitar bands from England and Eire, a lot of whom Mandy, Indiana have opened for, like Idles, Squid, and Gilla Band. (The latter’s Daniel Fox combined half of i’ve seen a manner, with Big Swan’s Robin Stewart taking up the opposite.) But i’ve seen a manner feels each extra excessive and extra accessible than a few of their speedy progenitors.
Visible influences—Blade Runner 2049, the online game BioShock, the movies of Leos Carax and Gaspar Noé—play an necessary function within the band’s music, and i’ve seen a manner begins with a equally filmic instrumental, “Love Theme (4K VHS),” a beautiful piece of starlit arpeggiated synth. Like one of the best opening tracks, it seems like a curtain rising, but it surely isn’t lengthy earlier than the quartet units up the primary plot twist: The dreamlike music lures you right into a nightmare world. On the very finish of “Love Theme,” a beat gurgles to life, recalling the muffled reverberations you may hear whereas ready to enter a membership, and pivots into “Drag [Crashed],” a music that takes dancefloor catharsis and rewires it into an anxious hurtle headlong into crashing distortion and horror-movie drones.
Mandy, Indiana pull off related methods throughout the album, nodding to bounce traditions however structuring rhythms too discomfiting for easy launch. Whereas the file’s underwater synths are sometimes beguiling, its percussive backdrops are ferocious—between electronics and Macdougall’s drumming, songs like “Pinking Shears” clatter and heave as if making an attempt to destroy all the things of their path. “Harm Element” flirts with a extra direct groove, but it surely chokes and sputters. Inside a single music, the band can seamlessly mix dissimilar moods and registers. “The Driving Rain (18)” is a neon-lit metropolis cruise driving a robotic bassline, Caulfield rendered an Auto-Tuned alien above it, whereas “2 Stripe” makes use of haunting, distant screeches to bookend an emotive reprise of the “Love Theme” synths.
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