Sound — 9
The Rx bandits recorded ths album when they have been around for a good 14 years or so and have had a huge change in sound and the creation of their songs aswell as numerous line up changes. Over the years the band has moved onto a more progressive rock sound for this album with influences from reggae. This Album's sound more a less continues off from their previous release "...and the battle begun" except minus Chris Sheets on trombone and back up vocals. Mandala kicks off with a crescendo guitar driven riff and heads into a groove based reggae/proggresive rock sound with Matt Embree laying down some soulful vocals and holds his own feet on guitar. Steve Choi lays down some heavy guitar melodies and harmoies whilst also switching from guitar to keyboard. Joseph Troy lays down some impressive bass lines, although I sometimes feel it's hard to hear the bass in this album due to everything that's happening but it's definitely the glue for this band most of the time. Chris the drummer is hands down one of the most complex drummers you can ever listen to, is an insanely talented man and I can't stress how much he makes every song on this album even more impressive with his drumming.
Lyrics — 8
Matt Embree's voice is a very soulful voice, it seems to work incredibly well with the sound the band generates. Matt Embree has been kind of singing the same way ever since the bandits started, but he has increased his vocals so much since their debut album. Songs like "March Of The Caterpillar", "My Lonesome Only Friend" and "White Lies" really prove to me how much of a beautiful voice Matt has. Rx Bandit's lyrics in my eyes are somewhat spiritual such as "These words I write to you my dear, Are sparks to turn the dark to light, Invariable presence." Overall the lyrics are pretty great and the lyrical content seems to fit quite well within the songs. Steve Choi and Joseph Troy both add backing vocals, not sure I can give a really good example but when I saw them live they added heaps to the sound although that might just be live.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I would say this album is a good start for the Rx Bandits catalogue. Although I prefered it when they still had a horn section, even though they can hold themselves fine without a horn member it still just leaves me wondering what it would sound like if they still had Chris Sheets in the band. I think this isn't as good as "...And the battle begun" but it's definitely a good album with some great beautiful songs. Every track stands out except for Mientras la Veo Soar and Hope is a Butterfly, everything else on the album is fantastic.