Mahatma Raindrop // Geometric Skies
For fans of: Vampire Weekend // Biffy Clyro
The music most regularly keeping me alert during the dull dark winter stomp to and from work has come from the stunning 30 minute 8 song debut album from Huddersfield based Mahatma Raindrop. Released in September 2017, Geometric Skies has become a firm favourite.
Originally created as a project to compliment their University music tech studies, what particularly impresses me about the guys in Mahatma Raindrop is their sheer span of musical influence. My personal favourite on this set has to be A Hope That Never Lasts, which reminds me of the early home-spun almost folkish sound of early alternative punk (I’m kind of getting a vibe for the legendary late 70’s band The TV Personalities, or early Billy Bragg but mixed with the bounce of Biffy). With the succeeding song Cooper Rose, I’m getting a feel for some of the late 1970’s Manchester The Fall influenced bands – I’ll even drop the name of one of my absolute all time favourites – The Blue Orchids).
Lead singer (and guitarist) Jonny Wilkinson (originally from Sunderland; I puzzled over his accent for a while) has a pleasing deep strong voice, and I’m delighted he’s not always desperate to stay completely in key all of the time; to add to the charm and sound of the band. Although the music is not depressing, albeit with lyrical themes of rejection and mental meltdown cropping up, I get tinges of the late great Ian Curtis.
It’s not all serious retro indie, track Jealousy has something of a funk-indie vibe going on before moving into a homage to prog-rock metal in the chorus. There’s some great rock guitar on this album; this track and the massive banger Can’t Be There are good examples, so kudos to Wilkinson, and fellow guitar man in the band Luke Steele. Providing the heavy backbeat muscle are Josh Fielden on bass and Sam Sutton on drums.
Can’t Be There offers some tender bitter-sweet heartfelt lyrics about someone not being able to have a night out because they are a mental mess, and in case they bump into someone they can’t cope with seeing. It’s a track that hits home with a thump as we all get there one time or another. Title track Geometric Skies perhaps almost manages to pop the sound of Mahatma Raindrop into a sole neat 4 minute package and it has the bouncy quality of a true banger with a great stomping chorus. The band say they are influenced by Biffy Clyro and I can pick up some of that vibe here (indeed I also get a slightly disconcerting Proclaimers 500 Miles feel too). This is a wonderful track live.
Mahatma Raindrop have been gigging regularly over the past 12 months and present a nicely thumping and tight live experience. It’s time to shake off that winter hibernation as Mahatma Raindrop gigs lined up for early 2018, include supporting Palmes for the launch of their 18A EP at that palace of grunge The Parish in Huddersfield on January 20th, and a Double Denim live special with Jake Smallbones and Samuel D at Leeds Verve Underground bar on 10 February.
A taster of the Mahatma Raindrop live experience can be found on their downloaded Can’t Be There from the Parish gig from September 2017.