Rx Bandits

Mandala

by Matthew Fiander

23 August 2009

 
cover art

Rx Bandits

Mandala

(Sargent House)
US: 21 Jul 2009
UK: 31 Aug 2009

Rx Bandits were once a vital and underappreciated part of the Drive-Thru Records roster during the pop-punk boom of the early ‘00s. But since then, the band has quietly morphed its pop-ska sound into something deeper and more mature. The quartet always seemed more ambitious than a lot of its peers, and over the years this has proven true. Sonically, Mandala is a big, rocking record. This is arena rock a lot of the way through with touches of the band’s reggae and ska influences. “Hope is a Butterfly, No Net Its Captor” is the best combination of sounds, moving from stringy guitar jam to propulsive, anthemic rock. The spacey haze of “White Lies” qualifies as perhaps the most left-field track on the album, as it’s built on overlapping vocals and atmospheric effects. And while horns have taken a bit of a backseat in the band’s sound, they still work in subtler doses on “Bury it Down Low”.

While its sound has morphed into more ambitious territory, Rx Bandits have delivered an album that doesn’t always feel all that mature. In fact, much of Mandala feels far too serious. Stumbling lines like “insurgent vicissitude of time” or vague melodramatics like “the path that splits into your soul” make the lines feel overdone and forced. In those moments, Rx Bandits seem to be sacrificing having fun to be taken seriously, and it just doesn’t work. In the end, there is maturity, and there is self-seriousness, and the gap between the two is huge.

Mandala

Rating:

//related
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.


//comments
//Mixed media

//Blogs

Stevie Wonder Takes a Knee as Green Day and Others Also Speak Out at Global Citizen Festival

// Notes from the Road

"The 2017 Global Citizen Festival's message for social action was amplified by Stevie Wonder and many other incredible performers and notable guests.

READ the article