The four-piece SoCal psych indie rock band Cape Mandala came together during a college jam session between Steven (drums) and John (vocals, guitar). They met the rest of their members through a friend.
Their EP Rotunda Days was recorded, mixed and mastered at Pirate Rock Productions by friend and mix-master Kerie Roark in Long Beach, CA. The crew of Cape Mandala is still in college, but they’ve given us their first EP in just a couple of months since forming in December 2013.
They’ve packed a ton of sound into the three-track EP, kicking off “Awake” with funky bass and guitar and the vocals “Why do we falter?” The song interludes between the funky, upbeat rhythms to a slow psych breakdown, almost like we’re listening to it underwater, appropriate to the surf rock moments. Compositionally the track is filled with transitions, including a smooth jazzy guitar bridge, drum fills and a vocal-driven outro.
“What Will Come After” begins more slowly with keyboards that remind me of Canada’s indie rock Rural Alberta Advantage. With John’s climbing vocal register, this track is more vocally exploratory than “Awake.” The band poses many questions, “I can’t help but wonder / what will come after.” The outro arrives suddenly, at first I thought it was just the bridge, but it exited smoothly with a heavenly cry.
The final track showcases dreamy psych chords and guitar picking. The vocals also pick up a dreamy quality in “Lost in Line,” “Precious time / Gave it all away.” Towards the end the vocals swim together with the rest of the sound, a kind of synesthetic melding.
Rotunda Days EP is compositionally complex and packed with a soft psych rock sound. I’m looking forward to their next album, but I would like to see more instrumental solos.
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