.The Mantles recently played at San Francisco’s, Eagle Tavern on Jan. 6, 2011 with The Art Museums, Melted Toys, and The Nodzzz. All bands, who are no strangers to the San Francisco music community, turned that Thursday evening at the notorious leather daddy bar into the place to be. As The Mantles took the stage (which wasn’t really a stage but an area in front of the restrooms) those waiting in line turned their focus away from their need to urinate and onto the sounds of the band’s take on contemporary pop music. Not pop music as in the sense of what you’d find on current radio, but the pop music that makes you wonder why you choose to put yourself through feeling so much in order to feel human. Perhaps it’s more related to radio music of the past, where people spent countless hours listening to singles that you eventually wear out into a post-audible state.
There are two aspects of The Mantles that make them such gems: their sound and their stage performance. No matter what show you go to, it’s never the same. They don’t pull gimmicky tricks or try to rile up the crowd in peculiar ways, instead you’re left there to take in four people zoning in on why music is made, glitz and glamour aside. Michael (guitar and vocals) is not timid to acknowledge the crowd between songs, and Virginia (drums), Matt (bass), and Justin (guitar) add their opinions and concerns in as well, allowing the audience to get to know the band on a more personable level. In a twisted way it’s like watching a family band take to the stage, minus the Partridge family feel and more so of what an actual uncensored family barbeque can get like after several beers.
After a string of singles, a Self-Titled LP on Siltbreeze in 2009, and now an EP, Pink Information, on Mexican Summer The Mantles continue to write the type of charming pop music that you find yourself subconsciously humming while walking down the street. The act of classifying a band by genre or sound tends to be a tricky thing, but if I can take my stab on how I would classify The Mantles it’s a feeling of timelessness that you would expect a band from San Francisco to sound like, and I say that in the most satisfied way. On their 2009 S/T album their single “Don’t Lie” made it’s way into my head, and still resides there now, along with their entire new EP, most notably the song “Cascades”. The Mantles are a band that to day have never let me down, and probably never will.
Article and photos by: Jason Hendardy