It is a strange and unflinchingly interesting journey that Finnish rockers Mangoo take you on for the hour duration of their second album, Neverland. Their debut for Small Stone is filled with pop hooks, classic prog synths, fuzzy, driving riffs and varied songwriting. Somehow, they manage to keep it all together and all sounding mostly straightforward, but if you were to pop in and out of the record at various points, you almost wouldn’t know it was the same band.
The 13 tracks that comprise Neverland feel free and open, and whether it’s the soft, trumpeted beginning of “Hooks” or the layered-vocal quirks of “Diamond in the Rough,” Mangoo prove experimental more in approach than form — that is, they’re still within the vein of heavy rock, but they’re in a different sector of that vein wherein the blood has turned purple. Several synth-driven interludes (and one Larmon Clamor-esque banjo sidestep) draw a line to the sometimes-experimental modus of Dutch outfit Astrosoniq, but the five-piece from Turku make their way through Neverland never quite sounding entirely like anyone but themselves.
Culmination arrives (fittingly) with the lush and memorable vocal hook of 10-minute closer “Datzun.” Even with its extended length, I’m not sure it could really summarize everything that Neverland has done up to the point of its start — that banjo would be a hard fit, though there are some acoustics in there — but the song nonetheless serves as a reminder of the breadth of ground Mangoo has been able to cover on the songs preceding while still remaining within and successfully navigating the boundary regions of genre.
Take a listen for yourself and see what you think:
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Mangoo‘s Neverland is due on CD on June 26. The album is available on iTunes now via Small Stone. The band is Pickles (vocals, guitar, banjo), Mattarn (guitar, vocals), Nicke (keyboards, vocals), Igor (bass, vocals), and Teemu (drums, vocals). Neverland was recorded by Nicke with a mix later from Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios. For more info on the band, check out their site or find them on Thee Facebooks.
Tags: Finland, Mangoo, Small Stone, Turku