Route 66, without the cheesiness. An ultra-tight band with solid guitar leads/vocal hooks, minus any overproduction or remnants of overdoing it. That more or less sums up Calgary’s Mandates. It’s difficult to be an extremely talented band without reeking of trying too hard, yet the foursome pulls it off. Their sophomore LP has their sound honed-in a little closer to the tone-classic punk band. Gone are a few of the slower jams found on their previous long player. But don’t let that fool you—In the Back of Your Heart is a dynamic record. Pat Kearns—who’s had a hand in almost every Mandates recoding—has a sound that you can likely picture, so hopefully reference doesn’t need to be made to The Exploding Hearts, The Observers, or other blasts from Portland’s past. The album falls in line with their previous Suspicionssingle, but is still far from a departure from the self-titled LP. A smooth, anthemic ride into the night. West-coasters take note.
–Steve Adamyk (Hosehead / Taken By Surprise, takenbysurpriserecords.wordpress.com / Teenage Rampage)