Fort Lowell (2015)
I'll admit it, I'm completely perplexed by this record. I just don't know what to make of it. It was sent to me for review and when I first took a look at the cover art and the fact that this band thought it would be a good idea to name their album The Arse, I figured it would probably be pretty terrible. However, when I popped it on the turntable to give it a listen, it couldn't have been more different than I thought it would sound.
Hey Mandible definitely have a mid 90's sludgy Sub-Pop-trying-to-find-themselves-after-the-grunge-explosion sort of sound. Right from the start of the album's first song "Supernovatone" you're smacked in the face with this vocal effect that sounds like it's something right out of the bad dreams of bands like Six Finger Satellite. The album gets progressively poppier and more upbeat from there, but I'm not sure that was the best idea for a lead off track.
There's some interesting guitar noise throughout the album. The one sheet wants to push a Dinosaur Jr. comparison, but I'm not sure any of the leads really get that intricate. That being said the band is not just recycling power chords on here. You can tell they've put thought and effort into these songs; they're just not connecting with me for whatever reason.
While this isn't a bad record by any stretch of the imagination, more than anything Hey Mandible reminds me of the type of bands from the 90's that I didn't like listening to at the time. I had this buddy Joe in high school that would have loved this. He was always trying to get me to listen to bands that were playing this sort of rock, but I just couldn't ever get into it. Maybe if Hey Mandible can target the Joe demographic they'll find some more fans, but I can't see myself listening to this very often.
Hey Mandible - The Arse LP: