Douglas Martin only accepts blog payola from Mexican Summer, Woodsist, and the City of San Francisco‘s Tourism Board.

“Why are you lonely, why are you looking for gold?” It’s an uncharacteristically dark question to open a Mantles song, a band well-known for possibly being the poppiest garage band in a city bursting from the seams with them. After a string of well-received singles and an excellent record on Slitbreeze which wasn’t incredibly polished but still Max Martin-esque compared to the other acts on the label, The Mantles teamed up with Mexican Summer (which can now say they released a Top-40 Record) to drop Pink Information a limited-edition, vinyl-only, (as most Mexican Summer releases are), and already sold-out (but don’t fret, it’s on iTunes) EP full of the sun-kissed, jangly garage-rock they ably explored on their self-titled LP. “Situations” marks a confident step away from that sound.

Possibly to compliment his freakish proximity in looks to Ashton Kutcher, frontman Michael O (this dude has done a remarkable job of keeping his last name from making it to the internet) sings over the spy movie guitars and thumping drums with 94%-on-key boyish vocals, spouting off downcast lyrics like, “Saw you on the street, walking/Talking to yesterday’s ghosts”, which is far from the cutesy plea that was standout LP track “Don’t Lie” in the best possible way. The Mantles seem to have taken a more crestfallen direction on “Situations,“ much like their hometown peers in The Fresh and Onlys.

With much of indie-rock from California and beyond throwing coins into the same upbeat wishing well, it’s refreshing to see The Mantles branch off from that sound before becoming an also-ran during this particular musical trend. And they didn’t even have to put the eight-track away to do so. In a world of bands looking for gold in the dirt, The Mantles found it by taking a left turn before they could find the shovel.

MP3: The Mantles-“Cascades”
MP3: The Mantles-“Don’t Lie”

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