The Mangoes: The Mangoes
It's hard to be anything other than uber positive about an album that is simply so upbeat that all the pages in its booklet glow yellow and orange, or where the illustration (I presume) of the two main protagonists finds them smiling as the sun shines and the water laps on golden sands. Then add in an uptempo, power-pop approach and a quirky concept and sure fire winner status must be assured and yet while I've admired and attempted to interact with this self titled album from The Mangoes, I've simply struggled to engage with either the blatantness of what's on offer, or the (and I'm sorry to say it) twee nature of much of what is encountered.
The story goes that a struggling musician, Billy, seemingly at the end of the road, discovers by chance an unknown female singer of amazing talent, Candy. The pair have a minor hit and hit it off romantically as well, before the girl wants a change of direction, dumps Billy and becomes mega famous at the hands of a sleazy A&R guy. Stalking from her discarded ex ensues, followed by restraining orders, obsession and...
Hats off to The Mangoes (Bret Bingham – vocals, guitars, ukulele, bass, keyboards, drum loops, and Tim Morse – keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals, bass and guitars), for in avoiding goblins, wizards and heroes, or post apocalyptic desolation and human despair, there's no doubt this pair have chosen an unusual concept to build an album round. And yet most of it is played out so obviously that the themes become cloying. The "minor hit", literally called "Stupid Chorus", is played out in full, all inane lyrics and faux dance beats, and while the message is that crap music receives mainstream attention and legendary status, actually placing said song slap bang in the middle of the album simply stops it dead and wants you to instantly hit the eject button.
The rest of the album reveals a strong love of 60s pop and especially The Beatles, with well constructed songs revelling in a retro groove. However the keyboard sounds employed seldom add the desired authenticity, leaving the results as betwixt and between pop rock with a hint of melodic prog. Add to that a vocal from Bingham, which to these ears, classes are an acquired taste and while understanding where much of this album is headed, the journey it takes you often isn't engaging enough to venture beyond background music.
The intention behind The Mangoes (is that album cover really meant to entice you to want to investigate further?) is well placed and there's a huge amount of time, skill and thought gone into this album. However nothing ever quite convinces and neither does it, even after numerous listens, entice you back for more, or surprise you by playing out in your head as you go about your day. If power pop with a 60s ethos but more modern (but hardly cutting edge) approach sounds like your thing, then by all means take a taste of The Mangoes, others will find this more a curio than an essential experience.
1. I Told You So
2. Mangoes Overture (Over)
3. Barista Girl
4. Samba Mambo
5. The Future (Will Be Yours)
6. Together (You and I)
7. Stupid Chorus
9. Headed for a Fall
10. The Future (Will Be Ours)
12. 200 Yards
13. Dirty Love
15. No Future
18. Broken Soul
19. The Mangoes Theme
Added: March 22nd 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Mangoes on facebook
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