RX Bandits

Mandala

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

On their sixth studio album, the California ska-rockers have stripped down their sound, excising a few horns here and there, but retaining the buoyant feel of their previous work. And while the blue beat emerges on almost every track, the songs explode far beyond the simple upstroke-upstroke aesthetic. "Hope Is a Butterfly, No Net Its Captor, She Beats Her Wings and Softly Sings of Summer Scent and Children's Laughter (Virus of Silence)" is as multifaceted a musical suite as the name suggests, reeling from proggy bombast to concise, pop-punk emoting to snaky reggae. "Bring Our Children Home or Everything Is Nothing" is a similarly complex vortex of sound that meshes galloping punk with Latin rhythms, driven by the prodigious drumming of Chris Tsagakis. The exploratory writing hits more than misses, on a set of songs that shiver with wit and moxie.

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