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Datcha Mandala - Hara

Datcha Mandala
by Dave Nowels at 03 June 2020, 5:18 PM

Now this, this is interesting. DATCHA MANDALA, a self described Heavy Blues/Psych band from Bordeaux, France. I don't know that I hear the Heavy Blues portion really. Okay, maybe in a track like “Who You Are” and perhaps it's predecessor, “Mother God”,but it's more along the leanings of THE FACES” melodoic Euro blues than Heavy Blues. The Psych is certainly present, if only intermittently, and even then in a THE BEATLES, QUEEN and maybe even a dollop of BOWIE direction, with lots of melodic influences,

The band is a road tested (over 550 gigs in 10 European countries as well as New York and Montreal) power trio. Lead vocalist Nicolas Sauvey, also wields the ever active bass, acoustic guitars and perhaps the most unexpected, harmonica on “Missing Blues” (there's those blues!) Harmonica isn't a common instrument found in Heavier music, though I'd argue that this isn't all that Heavy of music really. There's definitely some SABBATH and KYUSS influence that rears it's riffy head occasionally (“Moha” and “Eht Bup”for example), but that's the exception as far as I can tell. Instead, the real gist of the band can be found in the harmonies and melodic twists that the band snakes in and out of expertly. Perhaps it's that counter balance that makes the album so interesting, and thus, really enjoyable no matter how you refer to it.

Musicianship throughout is impressive. Guitarist Jérémy Saigne wails expertly, knowing when a restrained approach is called for, as well Sauvey's basswork is subtle, yet commands the rhythm, allowing Mallet's fills to expand creativeness, and potency. From a production view, the album has a full, warm vibe, incorporating effective layering, particularly in tracks such as “Sick Machine”, and “Morning Song”. “On The Road” is a slow groove, that surprisingly almost has a CROSBY STILLS & NASH feel to it, particularly the three part harmony. A true rocker in “Pavot” closes things out. Distortion fueled, it's probably the most straight forward track overall.

Bands are always striving to create a new sound to differentiate themselves, and I'd say that's exactly what DATCHA MANDALA have done here. I liked “Hara” more and more with each listen, and expect that trend to continue. It's a fun, original album, and I'm willing to bet DATCHA MANDALA are a band that's great live. Consider this one a gem that I didn't expect to find.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8


4 Star Rating

1. Stick it Out
2. Mother God
3. Who You Are
4. Missing Blues
5. Morning Song
6. Sick Machine
7. Moha
8. Eht Bup
9. Tit's
10. On The Road
11. Pavot
Nicolas Sauvey - Lead Vocal, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica
Jérémy Saigne - Lead Guitar and Vocals
Jb Mallet -
Drums and Vocals
Record Label: MRS Red Sound


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