THEY may be one of the most populous bands you’ve seen this side of My Life Story and The Polyphonic Spree in their pomp – but Oxford psych dectet Mandrake Handshake breathe new and trippy life into that old adage: the more, the merrier.
They’ve signed on the dotted for cult British indie imprint Nice Swan Records, already home to the excellent Pip Blom and Sports Team, and in celebration have dropped the exhilarating, flute-laden swirl of “Gonkulator”; though at this point, we’re still in the dark about what might need gonking – or even perhaps, degonking.
Never mind. What we can be sure of is that Mandrake Handshake brew up a finely infusion of psych-folky guitar chime, trilling flute, dubby interludes and acid pop chaos. Listen below on our SoundCloud embed.
Out now, “Gonkulator” forms part of the monthly Nice Swan Introduces… series (in partnership with RIP Records), in which they follow in the footsteps of their aforementioned labelmates and others, including FUR, Blossoms and Hotel Lux.
Let’s take a second to shake hands with them all: they are Row Janjuah, on guitar, synth, bass, and percussion; singers Trinity Oksana and Liv Duval; Elvis Thirlwell and Eris Nishku on tambourines and percussion; guitarist Charlie Arrowsmith; bassist Danny Jeffries; Shan Sriharan on keys; David Howard-Baker on flute and saxophone, and Joe Bourdier deep in the groove behind them all.
They call their sound ‘Flowerkraut’, which seems fair enough to me; and say of the tune, which will feature on their debut EP in the new year: “This is our three-minute party tune, but in swung 5/4 ‘cause who doesn’t love a good 5/4 groove?
“It’s a song about sheer joy, happiness and freedom for two-and-a-half minutes – can’t be any longer because it’s too much otherwise!”