Thursday, November 23, 2017

Umphrey’s McGee – Mantis 9.0/10

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Posted by admin On January - 20 - 2009

-A.S. Seldom is an album released that I can’t help listening to constantly. I can probably count on one hand how many albums had that effect on me in the last year. I haven’t stopped listening to Mantis since receiving it this weekend. Zack and I listened to it on repeat the entire drive back from Bloomington on Saturday. It took me a few days to even begin to find flaws in Mantis.

The progression of Umphrey’s McGee’s studio work has been something that I have enjoyed immensely. With Safety in Numbers, I admired their ability to mature in the studio and construct complex, yet concise songs. With Mantis, they show the same intelligence in crafting their songs, but this time they’re rocking out with their cocks out.

When I interviewed Jake Cinninger last year, he told me to expect something between Rush and Yes. That provided some lofty expectations. After hearing their first single, “Made to Measure,” a couple of weeks ago, I was hearing more Beatles than prog rock. The track has grown on me and the rest of the album certainly delivers on Jake’s assessment. The almost 12 minute epic “Mantis” track is a musical feat that shows flashes of Rush, with each different section greeting you with new lyrics.

It is officially impossible to not get down to “Cemetary Walk.” The aptly named “Turn and Run” is probably the biggest face melter on Mantis, and would certainly instill fear in today’s Jonas Brothers listening music fans. The album is full of four-part harmonies, none better than the Beach Boys homage at the end of “Spires.”

Sure, there are times when I wish Umphrey’s McGee would have rocked a little harder. When I heard Rush meets Yes, I was thinking tracks more along the lines of “Wizard Burial Ground.” The fact of the matter is, Mantis is another great step in the evolution of a great band. With each studio offering, Umphrey’s McGee shows something else they’re capable of. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them.

1 Response

  1. Teibs Said,

    Was looking through old posts and came across Jake’s analysis of the new album when Andy interviewed him:

    “Back to a more progressive, edgier sound. Less singer songwriter sound.
    We all go through phases. More orchestral rock band sound. King Crimson meets Yes. Big production, multi layers, multi colored. Doesn’t sound forced.

    Making sure it sounds naturally flowing. Continuity. Songs written, and conceived. Now it’s all about how we turn them into teenagers and send them into the world.”

    Posted on January 24th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

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