Long Enough to Leave
San Francisco's Mantles recall any number of fine pop groups throughout the decades who've had ambitions to write literate, melodic pop songs that don't overstay their welcome. What makes The Mantles special are their results. Sure, they suggest comparisons to '60s garage bands and '80s pop preservationists like The Clean, The Verlaines, The Droogs, The Rain Parade, The Go-Betweens, and onward—but they do so with a compact vibe that's made even more pronounced by excellent production from Kelley Stoltz, who demands that the right vibe be met above all else. The guitars retain the unvarnished greatness of pre-fuzzbox glory throughout tunes such as "Raspberry Thighs," "Brown Balloon," and "Bad Design," where they're met with vocals that share a similarly unpretentious attack. There's no need to overstate an emotion or offer up anything less than a full-band approach. An organ creeps out of the mix at the end of "Bad Design" once the guitars have faded away, and it's a surprise, so dense is the wall of sound.