Alice Sweet Alice – ‘Mandala’
I find that most of the time with female fronted rock bands, they are trying to be a carbon copy of a similar artists that have done the business and broken through into the mainstream. I’m sure you can agree that for one Paramore you can find hundreds of clones trying to get their share of attention out there. But this is not the case with Alice Sweet Alice, as although they have influences that you can hear in a lot of bands, the way it is carried out is beautifully done by their lead singer Ali Kat, and it sets them head and shoulders above any prospective chasing pack.
The group, from Kansas City, have been grafting hard on a rock hybrid in the four years of their existence, and it can be heard on their latest effort Mandala.
Billed as the band’s first true collaborative effort, it kicks things off with the sultry ‘21st Century Slavery’, which sees a hypnotising vocal delivery front and centre in the mix, over a stop and start string of riffage. ‘Burden Of Truth’ starts off slowly with haunting keyboards, but builds into a big chorus before finishing with a blistering guitar solo that comes out of nowhere, performed brilliantly by guitarist Ron Bales.
The group channel their inner Juliette & The Licks in the stop-start but always lively ‘Full Circle’, a song about the karma that what goes around will eventually come around, in which Ali Kat bellows ‘You will pay some day’.
The thing I like about this group is that they can drift from hard rocking numbers like that to a song like the dramatic, keyboard laden ‘Undone’, without ever sounding like they are trying too hard to find a niche. If you are into anything from The Kills right through to the likes of Evanescence, there will be something here for you. Mandala makes for an entertaining listen over the course of the album’s 7 tracks, with its overall darkness making a great match with the intertwining beauty and madness. If they can expand on this formula in the next few years to come, we could all be seeing a lot more of Alice Sweet Alice. And let’s hope we are!
Review: Lance Cook