Album Reviews

Mandy, Indiana – I’ve Seen A Way

(Fire Talk) UK release date: 19 May 2023

Abrasive with spiky, rebellious sentiments, the Mancunian/French outfit’s debut is recommended for fans of the electronic and the industrial

Mandy, Indiana - I've Seen A Way The music of Mancunian/French outfit Mandy, Indiana is enjoyably unpredictable – will we have shiny synth tones or punishing techno, ethereal shoegaze or blaring sirens? It’s all to play for on I’ve Seen A Way, and with frontwoman Valentine Caulfield’s powerful vocal delivery guiding the way the results are brutal and thrilling.

Opening track Love Theme (4K VHS) is appropriately retro, as a mid-tempo thump accompanies arpeggios that could easily soundtrack a Tron movie, while Pinking Shears is home to whip-crack snares, a big grinding bassline and polemical lyrics (“Dans cette saloperie d’société, J’ai plus envie d’me réveiller / quand on laisse des humains crever / Dans la mer Méditerranée, dans des immeubles pas chauffés / Dans nos pays dе gros tarés”).

Percussion in particular plays a huge role on the album, as a drum machine’s precise re-triggering goes up against the frenetic energy of a drumkit, minced in novel ways that only enhance the cacophony. Injury Detail is perhaps the best example, a union of motorik claps and distorted, hissing hi-hats with some faux cowbell as the icing on the cake.

The Driving Rain (18) is exquisite in its combination of dry synth bass with vocoded lyrics, creating a groove that is relatively easygoing and conventional. Even the piercing high-pitched tones that sound intermittently can’t disrupt the vibe, making it the perfect song to play in a cornershop or some other public amenity plagued by loitering teens. For those who like their club tracks angular and intense, Peach Fuzz ought to go down as one of 2023’s highlights. A churning, atonal intro meets blistering sidechain and blasts of white noise, only to be suddenly replaced by juddering bass hits that filter up to reveal their lasery overtones (“C’est eux qui gagnent, et nous qui perdons / On nous dit oui, on nous dit non”).

It’s abrasive music with spiky, rebellious sentiments, at times reminiscent of The Knife’s Shaking The Habitual album, and like that record it can occasionally stray into overindulgence: we could do without the plodding beat and distressed wails of Iron Maiden, for instance. An album with bangers like Drag [Crashed] is easily redeemed, however, and I’ve Seen A Way winds up being the most exciting debut in recent times, recommended for fans of the electronic and the industrial.

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Mandy, Indiana – I’ve Seen A Way