The latest in the long line of Alternative Rockers are Mantra, a British trio who formed three years ago. This year sees the release of their debut album Dreamland (Dine Alone Records), produced by Tom Dalgety whose body of work ranges from Ghost and Opeth to The Pixies and Royal Blood – with the latter two providing the inspiration here.
Full of hooks, big riffs and loud guitars Dreamland ticks all the alt-rock boxes – raucous, moody and melodic. ‘Run Away’ and ‘Cola Brat’ are the singles leading the charge, the former is a controlled blast of Queen Of The Stone Age esque rock with a sumptuous guitar tone.
The latter is a grower with a distinctively nineties feel to it, whose laid back guitar work and understated chorus bring The Pixies to mind. ‘I Want’ and ‘Stroke’ starts the album in a snappy fashion, the latter is an explosive bundle of energy that is over before three minutes. The former is a tight two and a half minutes of thrumming bass and big chords, akin to the aforementioned Brighton twosome Royal Blood.
It is all very familiar stuff but done with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, although a few songs – like ‘Russian Roulette’ – plod on by without much of an impact. They do mix it up a bit, adding a string section to ‘Too Little Too Late’ and ‘New Friends’.
Whilst the former is too ponderous and uneventful, the latter’s swirling mix of piano, strings, acoustic and electric guitars works – resulting in a brooding three and a half minutes. Retrograde by English singer-songwriter James Blake is also covered, injecting some manner of life into what is otherwise a dull, lifeless affair.
These forays, whilst admirable, are not why you are here. You are here for loud, catchy and brooding alt-rock with one foot in the nineties and one foot in the now which, with songs like ‘I Want’ and ‘Annexe’, Dreamland delivers.
7 / 10