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Issue: April 2011

Local Music Stew

You Are All Perceivers (Independent)
The Mandelbrots

The Mandelbrots comprises members of a number of notable local bands and manages to sound like none of them. In fact, this band's sound sounds like nothing at all and everything all at once somehow.

The band's bio notes that the members come from backgrounds in country, progressive rock, folk, jazz and bluegrass, and connections to bands such as Fire the Saddle, the Town Criers, Gladstone, the Wet & Sandy Boys, Satchel's Pawn Shop, and more. The end result creates "a sound that conveys adventurous composition with harmonically-driven acoustic sensibility in a lively rhythmic landscape."

Yeah, what they said. And the Mandelbrots don't disappoint. The self-titled debut is oddly engaging and curiously … well, curious.

"People Need" is an example of a song built on an oddly erratic rhythm, with spare instrumentation just cohesive enough to hold it all together. Guitarist/vocalist Joe Burchett delivers the lyric in an almost detached way, contributing to the song's odd, jazzy feel.

Overall, the approach seems most easily described as folk, yet every so often a gorgeous pop melody will present itself, such as on the lilting "The Staple Factory." Ian Thomas' pedal steel shines on this song (among others) to help create a lovely four-minute landscape. The sad "Lines Divided" is another one that falls into this category.

And if you listen to no other song, check out "Well, Whiteside," an oddly-arranged, six-minute tribute to rocket scientist/occultist John Whiteside. It may take a few listens to digest, but it's certainly worth a taste for the adventurous. It doesn't really get kicking until well into the song, but it's worth the wait. And how many times have you ever heard a song about a rocket scientist?

You Are All Perceivers might be described as an album with a little something for everyone, but it is music that needs to be listened to rather than enjoyed while you wash your socks. (That is meant as a compliment, by the way.)

Find out more at mandelbrots.net.

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