This 5 song EP is a pleasnat surprise in a time when I get quite a few unsolicited self releases dropping thru the Lonesome Highway mailbox. From the classy cover artwork to the excellently produced vocal and instrumental tracks this is a credit to four lads who are best described in this little snippet from the websitewww.themandolas.com. “The Mandolas are a 4-piece folk/pop group based in Cork, Ireland. The band make use of a wide range of acoustic instruments (mandolin, mandola, acoustic guitar, bouzuki, banjo and viola) as well as incorporating lavish 4-part harmonies into their music. The Mandolas perform original material and combine Irish and English folk traditions with a unique blend of contemporary pop.
The group consists of Michael Grace (Kilkenny), Colm Hayes (Cork), and brothers Paddy & Dorian Kelly (West Cork/ originally hailing from Yorkshire). Drawing inspiration from the likes of Planxty, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Fleet Foxes, The Mandolas unique folk stylings combine a wide array of musical influences to create a fresh, warm sound.
Again as on other self releases I found the lack of sleeve notes to be a hinderence in checking the background to the band. But the time spent hitting the website was aided by a good listen to a mixture of really tight vocal harmonies and some fine acoustic stringed playing. The band name obviously is derived from the mandolin or mandola skills of three of the four group members. And these skills are demonstrated on all of the tracks in a style that would have Donal Lunny or Andy Irvine or even Johnny Moynihan reminising joyfully on their own debut releases
It’s hard to pick a favourite track as I want to let this one travel in the car with me for a little longer to really soak in the unexpected professionalism on this CD. Suffice to say that very listenable Beatlesque harmonies mixed with the fine songwriting and instrumental talents makes this a very welcome adition to my playlist and will be sure of some regular airplay on my Lonesome Highway radio shows.