Road To Mandalay is a band that started back in 2015 with the goal of bringing a unique blend of heavy alternative rock to the burgeoning music scene in Cambodia. The trio features Tracy Farrell on bass and vocals, Adam Schumacher on guitar and Antti Siitonen on drums and vocals. They’ve already done a good job with regards to making a name for themselves as they’ve garnered praise and fans for their edgy and vibrant sound. They draw noticeable influences from classics such as Blondie but also slightly more modern acts such as Foo Fighters. Nonetheless, this is a band that has crafted a unique and intriguing sound. Their self-titled EP Road to Mandalay is a testament to that.
The five-track EP opens with “Shuhei’s Bar.”.Driven by crunchy, electrifying, distorted power chords and a punchy drum beat, this track is reminiscent of the short, jagged and funky sound of early Red Hot Chili Peppers. Upbeat and screeching vocals reverberate atop the little bursts of funky riff-age and punchy melodies. The climax is rife with a muted guitar rhythm and sizzling guitar solo, which closes the track on a belting note. It’s straight up rock n’ roll, but Road To Mandalay has managed to create their own flavor with influences from all over the globe.
“Defeation”adopts a slow, throbbing beat, a growling bass rhythm and a raw, crunchy guitar riff. The vocals adopted almost an Iron Maiden-esque arena-filling sound. Yet, once again, even with the raw, electrifying sound Road To Mandalay has adopted as a result of influences from the classics, this is a band which still retains an original sound by filling these raw, gritting noises with an upbeat melody and hopeful tone which is often missing from mainstream heavy rock or metal music. They don’t opt for the typical “doom and gloom” route.
“Cake Rock” certainly does imbue one with the same emotions induced by a slice of cake. It’s got a chirpy, fast-paced beat, deep, guttural and feminine vocals from Farrell and a slightly darker guitar riff. It’s punky and it’s infectious. I felt elements of The Breeders seeping through here, but it still felt like something entirely unique and different. This isn’t a tribute band, even if you can see the influences within their stylistic tendencies.
“Kill Bill” is as much of a rollercoaster ride as the films. It opens with a pop-punk-esque screeching guitar riff along with a punchy, precise drum beat. Harmonizing vocals between Farrell and Siitonen create an electrifying, powerful and full sound. It’s a classic rock n’ roll sounding chorus of harmonies and yet the verses opt for modern, quirky and intimate screeching pop-punk. There’s such a diversity of influence here, and it creates a really intriguing sound.
All in all, there’s a lot of raw talent here, and I’m intrigued to see what Road To Mandalay could achieve on a full-length release if this was just their effort on five short and to-the-point tracks. There’s a lot of potential for this band to strive for greater heights and further hone an individual, unique sound that will draw in a wider audience of fans. Watch this space because I think these guys (and girl) have a lot of good stuff coming up.
Become A Fan
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook