Standing out as an emerging indie rock band isn’t easy, but Waterbury, Connecticut’s Mandala has figured out how to do it, by going a little old school in an unexpected way on their just-released second album, Cash For Smiles.
Opening track “David Brown” is four minutes long but ends with a minute-long guitar solo, not to mention it begins with a minute of guitar work as well. Even the next song, “Washed Up,” which is only two-and-a-half minutes to begin with, spends its final half focused on Chris Desiderio’s guitar chops. And guess what? It’s fun as hell! When’s the last time an indie rock group devoted this much time to guitar solos, or rather, when’s the last time it’s been pulled off so charmingly? The indie rock guitar solo isn’t dead!
Cash For Smiles is more than just that, though, since all this six-string focus would mean nothing if that was all there was to it. The 36-minute record, which was written and recorded in Desiderio’s living room over the past year, is filled with quality songwriting, solid grooves, and consistently smooth and adept vocal performances from singer Morgan Fasanelli. She says about the record:
“This album holds a special place in all of our hearts. This album has our groove, heart, and soul in it. With any project, especially a DIY one, there are going to be flaws and critiques, but we are so incredibly proud of how this project came out. After a deep self-reflection on this album, all five of us are confident in saying that our music is constantly developing and this album captures that while also presenting a very nostalgic feeling to our listeners.”