Mandy Blest is a lot of woman in one. A part of her cries with that rambunctious rawness witnessed from Liz Phair’s ‘Exile in Guyville’ just with a little but less sexual aggression. Blest’s voice seems to catapult here and there, recalling the vocal song and dance of Kimbra or Regina Spektor. And through it all, she channels an indie aesthetic and sweeping quality that reminds us why Cat Power and Pattie Smith have been successful for so long. She is part hipster, part punk rocker, and part folk songstress. At such a young age, it is fascinating to see her try these various skins throughout a selection of six songs collectively contained on her various social media websites.
I found little to literally tie these songs together. ‘Can’t Change Strange’ hovers complacently as a folksy but oddly passive-aggressive attempt at weird indie pop. ‘Naked Monday’ is so clearly an unrealized demo track, Blest’s voice floats in the distance and the guitar chimes along like it is coming out of a vinyl player covered in a blanket. But that is, of course, part of the charm and appeal. Reverbnation, SoundCloud, and Myspace Music could not exist without it.
Just because the songs by Mandy Blest are not contained herein a certain EP or LP release (as far as I could tell) it does not mean they all do not work together. Thematically, the songs are a collective series of quick-witted jams, while others meander along beautifully. ‘Hollow Path’ is perhaps an early crowning achievement in comparison to the rest of her repertoire. It is soft-mannered and drawling, an ethereal and somewhat melodramatic adventure in four minutes.
While some of the songs sound somewhat incomplete, others sound like complete realizations. There is little awkward refurbishing here, it’s that middle ground between quick demo and fully accomplished track. This is also part of the appeal, because it shows off her talent. The raw songs are still found competent though obviously unfinished, and the complete songs sound absolutely sensational. Something is working here, and if it is the producer, than more power to them.
Regardless of all that, Mandy Blest has a sensational voice. It mesmerizes with a dark swagger and down-tuned growl that recalls Lana Del Rey at her most tense or Kate Bush at her most European.
I love sifting through Reverbnation and other somewhat obscure music sites to find some hidden gems. Mandy Blest is certainly a winner. Her sound is classy and fine-tuned, making for a collective gathering of songs that would work brilliantly if they were all fully finished and put together on an official album. There is certainly a particular intrigue going on here. Blest seems to love music for the sake of loving music, and her natural proactive voice radiates pleasantly. If she remains an indie darling, she will be in good company. But even further, she could easily be a star – however cliché that so obviously is.
For more info and to be truly impressed:
*Photo Credit: Eye Design Studios ([email protected])
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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