Mandy, Indiana, “i’ve seen a way”
By Ted Davis · May 22, 2023 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, T-Shirt/Shirt, Compact Disc (CD)

The members of Mandy, Indiana say they don’t feel very attached to their hometown, but the Manchester, UK four-piece still find ways to inject the city’s distinct strain of punk with an effortless modernity. Bringing their work to life in unconventional spaces like crypts, caves, and shopping centers, the group’s creation process is defined by a rough-hewn unconventionality. This, coupled with frontperson Valentine Caulfield’s commanding French vocals, allow their songs to be equally scrappy and chic. It makes sense why Mandy, Indiana has already shared stages with jagged-edged acts like Gilla Band and Squid, while also getting the remix treatment from seasoned techno floor-shaker Daniel Avery.

Mandy, Indiana wandered onto the scene around 2019 with a unique, no wave–indebted sound that set them apart from the majority of their labelmates on New York City indie imprint Fire Talk. Their full-length debut, i’ve seen a way, builds on this formula, marrying raw, intimate lyricism with blown-out instrumentation that favors industrial grooves and churning synth and guitar melodies. It lands like the snarl of a predatory animal that suddenly realizes the hungry rumble in its stomach.

The album succeeds because of how well it combines adventurous experimentation with comparably refined studio production. “Drag” is carried by a four-on-the-floor beat and stuttering, broken-machine noise. Album closer “Sensitivity Training” plays like a Dick Dale surf track blasting in the clattering depths of an iron smelting facility. Downtempo “The Driving Rain (18)” is slow but unflinching, thanks to arpeggiated bass, vocoded singing, and fabricated tom flourishes. Even the gentlest cut—opener “Love Theme (4K VHS)”—calls to mind a descent into subterranean chaos. And while there are fleeting moments of reprieve peppered throughout, the vast majority of the record is relentless and dystopian.

It’s fitting that members of Mandy, Indiana have cited bleak pieces of media like the movie Titane (2021) and the video game Bioshock as major sources of inspiration “I really like filmmakers that deliberately make viewers uncomfortable,” guitarist Scott Fair told Pitchfork in a recent interview. Mandy, Indiana have a knack for warping the influences of these uneasy storylines into an enthralling racket, ending up with an album that plays like no wave icons Theoretical Girls recording for feisty club label L.I.E.S.


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