I’ve Seen a Way
ABOVE THE CURRENT
Mandy, Indiana make you feel fucking cool. That’s blunt, but it’s the only way I can express it. They possess the same sort of casual confidence as cutting the line at the club because you know you’re on the list. They have the allure of VIP wristbands and invites to secret afterparties. The icy beats and steely percussion decorating their debut LP I’ve Seen a Way aren’t what you pregame the party with, they’re the main attraction. The Manchester-formed industrial-noise quartet manages to come across as angelic and avant-garde all at once on the record—a hard feat to accomplish, but something they do with such suaveness it makes your head spin.
An album “recorded in caves, crypts, and shopping centers,” I’ve Seen a Way radiates the influences of the banal and beguiling places they reference through their transient delivery. The auditory equivalent of a liminal space, they conjure the same kind of confusion and curiosity through 11 chaotic yet completely charming tracks. Starting with the soaring “Love Theme (4K VHS),” they reverse the ethereal synths soon after with the industrial chill that adorns “Pinking Shears.”
And they don’t hesitate to switch things up—the entire album feels like wandering through a labyrinth where you’re never really sure where to turn or what to expect, though you’re exhilarated by the idea of what comes next. They glide through the samples of a downpour on “The Driving Rain (18),” and then return to distorted glitches on “Iron Maiden” as if it’s effortless to shift such polar-opposing gears in the blink of an eye.
The soundscapes the quartet collected and incorporated into their debut only add to the sense of awe weaved throughout. You have to wonder how they came across those moments, what it was like to end up there, and cross your fingers that you’re lucky enough to stumble upon them yourself some time down the line. It gives the record character and a quirky charisma that can’t be matched.
It’s rare to really understand a band from their debut, but Mandy, Indiana obviously found their footing quickly. They assert who they are and don’t use I’ve Seen a Way as a stepping stone for who they want to become. Instead, they show up, stand tall, and stick to their guns. It's incredibly commendable.