MANDRAKE - The Story So Far ...
We recently recorded our self-financed 10-track debut album: 'Glory Days'.....
Our band has been gigging Indie venues since 2011 and we've received several good album reviews. We had an invitation last year from Alan Gold, (MD Red Zone Music), to tour Germany & Scandanavia, and supported Liverpool band the 'Lotus Eaters', and American band, 'Sam Gibb & The Cartel, (daughter of The Bee Gee's), at Manchester Roadhouse, and several other bands at Night & Day Venue.
We were spotted by Manchester music impressario Alan Wise, (Tony Wilsons ex-business partner), on 18/03/11. Alan, (who has worked with Chuck Berry, The Fall, New Order, Factory Records, Donovan, Ray Davies/The Kinks, etc), stated that he particularly likes the songs. But went on to say that he hasn't the finances to invest in a new band. We met up with him in Salford in 2011 for lunch and had an interesting chat., (he then proceeded to scoff all our pizza which we paid for and got off back to Salford). Nice man though.
We have finished a series of gigs culminating at Manchesters Ruby Lounge on 05/11/11, (which was a personal invite from Maison Rouge Records). We have received UK/European/American/Canadian airplay, and have been play-listed alongside some great musicians we admire, including, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, 10cc, Smiths, Rolling Stones, The Who, Radiohead. Also received 'Demo Of The Week', on Montreal Radio, Canada, featured on American & UK Indie Radio, and entered the top 20 Spanish Indie Charts. North America seems to particularly like the songs/album.
'Glory Days', was launched in Liverpool at The Cavern Club, (as we are rather fond of The Fab Four). Our album went on sale 2012 and looking to secure a distribution deal. We will be recording a follow-up album in due course as we currently have over one-hundred songs to play with so plenty of original material to work with, (just need to choose the good songs from shit songs).
Our sound has been compared to: The Kinks, Coldplay, The Doors, and the Go-Betweens, (Robert Forster/Grant McLennan).
Fellow musicians we like: Lennon&McCartney, Neil Young, Dylan, Bowie, L.A. Folk Scene, Tamla Motown. (Marvin Gayes' concept album, 'What's Going On', is one of the best albums ever made.
You Tube Channel on the way apparently, (according to our would-be social media manager who flits between Manchester and Timbuktu).
MUSIC PRESS - ALBUM REVIEWS
'Glory Days' Review By Kelvin Leigh
Mandrake - Glory Days Album
Following in the long-time Manchester tradition of great indie bands, Mandrake join their forebears and contemporaries as they continue their ascent towards noteriety. With a plethora of auspicious shows already under their belts and promising airplay on the other side of the Atlantic, this band really are set to shine as they release debut album "Glory Days". Full of well-crafted songs it is sure to be on your playlist for the rest of summer.
I was so enthralled from the first listen of "The Honeymoon Stranger", which reminded me of the smoothness of the Kinks but with the raw lyrics and prose of "The Reverend" John McClure. Although whopping 6 minutes long, I still found myself pressing "repeat" in order to fully absorb Oscar Novak's impactful lyrics and the laid-back melodies over which they are layered. The band are adept at penning forlorn songs such as "If I Had the Answers" and "Walking Down Your Way''.
This album is a great introduction to the band. Every track feels inspired by other acts, (rather than simply mimicking those who have gone before). It is immediately apparent that Mandrake have taken great care to hone their sound. "Glory Days" is full of melodic, wistful ballads about love and loss but there is far more to this band than Coldplay-esqe level of depression. I found myself especially drawn to "No-one Ever Says Goodbye", which has the feel of a song played in dancehalls slipped in between the Kinks and Hermans Hermits. With a rich, call-and-repeat hook ("Come on (come on), Hey you (hey you)") and imbued with the "poppy-ness" on which all great 60's songs were built, this tambourine-laden number is one of the highlights of the album and an early-summer personal favourite.
I look forward to seeing Mandrake in the future and hope that they join the UK festival circuit later this summer, as their laid-back guitar and relaxing beats are perfectly suited to lounging in the sunshine as you recover from the night before. I'm convinced that Mandrake have the potential to become stars of the UK rock scene and I would love to see them given the opportunity to unleash an epic follow-up in the near future.
The Honeymoon Stranger by mandrakemanchester
Tags: Mandrake, Indie-Pop, Rock, 60s style, Manchester, Glory Days
By Bob Osborne - Salford City Radio
Aural Delights - Bob Osborne.
Mandrake – Review by Aural Delights – Bob Osborne – Salford City Radio 94.4FM
Self Released – due out in the summer
This took some time to get to me due to the vagaries of the british postal service. Oddly when the jiffy bag arrived the stamp had not been franked….anyway I digress. I’d already had four of the tracks via the band in MP3 form so I was sort of primed on what to expect and I was looking forward to listening to the whole thing. It has been argued on more than one occasion that the conurbation of Mancunia is the pop capital of England, (if not Europe), and that fine tradition is carried on here with some elan, with the added value of some rock elements that raise it above the mainstream of the hurly burly of indie boys and girls out there.
Another observation is that this band is unsigned and I have to say wipes the floor with a lot of the signed bands I get sent product for these days. I understand the majors are being approached and some are interested so I would assume it’s only a matter of time before they get a release and distribution.
This is a good album – it kicks off with the up-tempo “The Honeymoon Stranger ” which demonstrates the bands ability to play loud and hard – it’s full of Manc swagger and four to floor rhythm and very listenable indeed.
The dreamy ballad “If I had all the answers” is lush, evocative and has just the right amount of guitar in it to give it an edge. Vocally, lyrically and melodically it has all the elements of a classic and is my favourite piece on the album. Next up waves of cheeky wah-wah guitar introduce “Last Orders” where singer Oskar manages to fold a Manc twang into his performance which gives it a unique feel. There is something incredibly populist about this music but at the same time it has a subliminal underground edge which makes you think “hang on a minute what have I just been listening to?” This requires further listening as there are many disparate elements in these songs.
“Still Waters” drifts back into dreamy balladeering with, again, some nice guitar and ambient sounds to give it a bit of a kick. “Redemption ” keeps the tempo at medium and perhaps suffers against the other tracks on the album in that it is the one that tends to sound like something else (which I can’t put my finger on). The acoustic guitar and basic standard song piano arpeggios of ”Cult Madness” are more engaging and the emerging trademark sound of soulful songs with keening guitar in the background is best realised here. The song is beautifully understated and there is a very interesting imperceptible dark element to the music which moves it away from pop normality.
The title track “Glory Days ” is a perfect summer festival song. The faster paced “No One Ever Says Goodbye ” is packed with pop hooks to die for. And I can easily see the crowds at Wembley with their lighters in the air swaying gently to the string patch drenched ''When Angels Came For Davey''. “Walking Down Your Way ” closes the album and ends on a reflective note.
I wouldn’t normally listen to this type of music but Mandrake seem to have found their way to that part of my brain where I store my love of melody and great song structures. I was struggling to recall what they reminded me of and then it struck me that there is a lot of Grant McLennan’s easy pop sound here – so they are a bit like The Go-Betweens without the angular elements brought by Robert Forster.
All in all a fine debut with a handful of classic Manchester pop tunes. If you like your music well written and melodic then you really should check this out.
Filed Under Danni Skerritt, genre, Glory Days, indie, indie rock and roll, Live and Unsigned, Live Music, Manchester, Manchester Unsigned Scene, Mandrake, Quenched Music, The Doors, unsigned, Unsigned Quenched Unsigned
''Glory Days'' is the debut album from the Manchester based band Mandrake. They have a somewhat melodic tone to their songs which immediately puts a listener to rest. As a debut, it was easy to think that each track is a part of a bigger story that the album showcases. Mandrake as a band seem to be moving forward steadily. This album is a credit in that, like their style, they do not rush anything, You have the feeling whilst listening to this album that it has been gentle and carefully put together. This is probably one of the best produced albums I have heard from an unsigned band.
The music itself is reminiscent of the kinks. ''If I had all the answers,’' has a hint of The Doors which is never a bad thing in flashes. I see great things to come from this album. With the way they are growing it will be interesting to hear what the band offers second time round.