The Mantles’ first album was a pleasant slice of fuzzy guitar pop, but listening to it a few years later, one gets the impression that the band didn’t seem to want to go much further than where they were. Fortunately, Long Enough To Leave is a considerable leap forward for The Mantles, who eschew the fuzz of their debut for a crisp, jangly guitar sound that recalls the best moments of The Feelies and early R.E.M. without becoming a museum piece.
Throughout Long Enough To Leave, The Mantles approach their jangle pop with a wholly unique perspective, displaying tension, longing, and relaxed vibes on songs like “Hello” and “Brown Balloon.” Vocalist Michael Olivares croons with a drawl that at first recalls Lou Reed, but with more tension and insecurity than Lou ever had. Elsewhere, the band effortlessly shift from the eerie, organ-driven “Bad Design” to the sweet, low-key guitar pop of “More Than I Pay.” There’s plenty about Long Enough To Leave to recommend it to any guitar-pop fan, but what really makes this a special album is the musical growth demonstrated by The Mantles. Here’s hoping they only get better.
– Kevin Korber