Rx Bandits - Mandala
Record Label: Sargent House Records
Release Date: July 21, 2009
To be frank, Rx Bandits have been completely enveloped in their own universe for the past five years, releasing some of the most forward-progressing and innovative music that the underground has to offer. When it came time to record and release Mandala, their sixth studio effort, they knew exactly what was going to come out of those writing sessions.
Mandala is the third release that the band has recorded live, something their fan base has acknowledged as a band principle, especially taking into consideration the fact that their live show is highly reflective of their studio sessions. Between the release of 2006’s …And the Battle Begun and Mandala, the group lost a vital component: the horn section. Saxophonist Steve Borth and trombone player Chris Sheets left the band to pursue other interests, leaving the Rx Bandits a quartet. However, the band’s creativity "bubble" was blown wide open with this, considering that they didn’t have to write around a horn section anymore.
“My Lonesome Only Friend” is one of the most straight-forward rock songs the band has written, with one of the most memorable choruses on the album. The high energy synthesizers of “It’s Only Another Parsec…” will pick up the horns’ slack, while the reggae and ska-stylings of “Bury it Down Low” will take you back to the Rx Bandits of yesteryear.
Rx Bandits have always maintained a level of intricacy on songs, often having tracks with multifaceted time signatures, as prevalent on “Hearts That Hanker for Mistake,” one of the album’s best jams. On “Mientras La Veo Sonar,” the Bandits attempt a little salsa-ditty, complete with verses in Spanish – and it feels just as natural as other material.
After producing …And the Battle Begun on their own, the band decided to bring back longtime producer Chris Fudurich for Mandala, and with good reason. Fudurich’s spotless work behind the boards executes the highs and lows of their sound perfectly, especially embracing the fact that they record analog, as opposed to today’s norm of digital.
Not only are the Rx Bandits some of the best modern musicians around, they have managed to withstand a huge personal blow and flip the script to continue progressing and improving as a band. It’s hard to imagine this band taking any real steps backwards or creating bad music in general, but that’s probably just the bias speaking. Just let Mandala do all the convincing.
damn, this review ain't getting much love. thought AP loved the bandits.
the Bandits have their own cult following on this site...in general, AP doesn't really pay much attention to Rx, which is sad. Most of AP doesn't know anything about this band...then again, most of this site likes shit pop-punk anyway.