There are few, small number of projects I liked since first listen even though I wasn't sure why really. What makes us sure that we like something? For me it always have to work as a whole thing. This is one of the reasons I collect records and compact discs. I agree we need digital music. I have myself a huge memory card in my car, full of music to listen while I'm stuck in traffic. But I don't like the idea of mp3 as a final product. I need to touch the thing, the object. I need to smell the booklet, inner sleeve, spin the record. Play the CD. From the beginning to the end. You can't shuffle vinyl record, right? Integrity within record, record label, cover and inner sleeve is also something I look for.
Sunjacket LP got my attention straight away. Everything fits. Music, cover, inner sleeve, minimalism. But still I had a big problem to explain what is in this project I like so much. I think now I know.
"Mantra" is a debut album of four piece band from Chicago. Some say it's an indie rock album. It isn't. It's post indie rock. Lads made a big step from genre we all know as indie rock. It's dark, it's minimalistic, it's annoyingly addictive and very organic. But somehow it doesn't really try to be like that. It just is, naturally.
"Mantra" is like a dream. It's a bit unreal, it colors are faded, everything is quite foggy. For whole album length we're lead by bit broken drums and bass which is so simple though so organic like a heart beat. Minimalistic synth keyboards sometimes guitar, trumpet... That's it, nothing more. Beat, bass, synth keyboards. But then there is something disturbing here. Something dark and creepy. It's not a good dream. It's like one of these waking you up in the middle of the night with no reason. No monsters, no running naked through your high school, no falling down. There is just something disturbing peace of mind. Title track is a perfect example. Two voices, few samples, drums, piano. "Grandstanders" same, bass, drums, voice. Then silence. Emptiness. Just to hit with distortion. Even the "Dissolve it", track I like least, fits to this scenario. Maybe it's chorus annoying me so much but somehow I feel it suppose to be like that. It's a dream, I'm trying to escape, I'm trying to loose that chorus from my mind but still wherever I go, I hear it.
Same thing happens on the cover. Straight lines of the horizon and pier. Calm and steady water of the ocean. But in the middle of it there is floating creased thermal blanket. It's as unreal, disturbing, and creepy as the music.
Inner sleeve has lyrics printed on one of the sides, and another thermal blanket picture on the other, but this time is black and white. More creased pictures on the labels of the vinyl. This is one of the reasons why you should get the vinyl. It's a whole piece. Just digital album won't give the full experience. And believe me 180g record sound way better than mp3. It's deeper and even more organic. You can check it yourself as record comes with code to download digital version. For the car.
"Mantra" is definitely one of the most interesting debuts I've heard in a long time. It doesn't really like being play in a background to your regular activities, it doesn't even work that well in a car. Headphones are probably best way of experiencing those sounds. It's too intimate to share it. It's your dream...