I recently started using Instagram to promote my blog and the artists I write about. I honestly have no clue what I’m doing with the hashtags or if it’s even worth the trouble but when I got an email from Mandala about an upcoming EP he had coming out, I knew that it has all been worth it. I love new music and love promoting new music even more. I love working with indie artists that can’t get into the ears of big-time reviewers for one reason or another. I mean, let’s be honest, those albums are typically better than the ones that masses hear about anyway. Long story short– Mandala sent me his EP to review and I was super excited as I hit play on this quick six-song release!
The piano that kicks off this album in “Body (Intro)” had me absolutely stuck. It has a very haunting tone to it that is only escalated as the vocals come in. The lyrics seem to question everything about life and that had me intrigued and so excited to see what all Mandala has in store for me throughout this EP.
“Modern Struggle” really kicks the album off. Although I don’t listen to a ton of rap music, Mandala’s style caught me a bit off guard. Whereas mumble-rap seems to be the name of the game these days, Mandala makes sure that each word is heard loud and clear. This makes the beat seem a little slow and exaggerated at times but, as a lyric person, I appreciated it. The lyrics of “Modern Struggle” have a bit of a religious undertone that I couldn’t quite relate to but the heart that comes with the lyrics is not something that is lost on me.
It was when I was listening to “Incel” that I realized that Mandala is a religious rapper of sorts. Again, I may not agree with some of the statements in his raps but that doesn’t change the fact that I appreciate his words. It also adds an interesting twist to a genre that I know very little about. It had me intrigued and the intrigue continued as “Temptations” took over my speakers. “Temptations” starts with a rag-time piano part that had me moving around in my seat. It’s an infectious beat and a style that I think works really well with rap and wish I had heard more of in the genre.
“Blind Love” features Mia Bertino on vocals and I instantly fell in love with the warmth in her voice and the way it juxtaposes Mandala’s style perfectly. I found myself anxiously awaiting more moments of Mia’s voice throughout this track and I honestly can’t wait to dig into who she is and what else she has done. I was lost in this song and was a little bit bummed as the EP moved on to the final song “Little Faith”. The bass on this song is more bumping than the previous tracks but Mandala’s lyrics and vocal style make it clear that it is his song.
Full disclosure, lyrically this EP wasn’t for me and there were times throughout it that I wondered if the style, in general, was for me. That being said, I see the place for this type of music and know that there are people out there that will eat this up so I don’t want to be too harsh. As my dad always says, “He’s good at what he does– I just don’t like what he does”.
My Favorite Track(s): “Blind Love”
For Fans Of: Religion; PG Rapping
Dance-ability: 2 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Both Cats Slept Right Under My Desk
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 2 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4 out of 10
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