It’s easy enough to categorize Mangoo‘s second album Neverland as stoner rock – the heavy riffs, stoned boogied rhythms, gruff vocals and acid atmosphere are all there. But to dismiss the Finnish quintet as yet another meat-and-potatoes heavy rock troop is markedly unfair. Firstly, keyboardist Nikky‘s alternately soaring and gurgling synth bleats add a touch of cosmic chaos to the songs, giving snarling rockers like “You, Robot” and “Deathmint” an exotic flavor. Secondly, and most importantly, the band delivers real melodies here, not just skeletal structures for big riffs. The introspective boogie “Lose Yourself,” the mighty anthem “Datzun” and the power ballad “Painted Black” revel as much in their tunefulness as in their power. The rollicking “Diamond in the Rough” borrows a groove from the Faces and the Stones. The banjo-driven country blues of “Home” and the synth-pop weirdness of “Interlude” provide throat-clearing before the deluge continues. The band puts it all into “Hooks,” an epic that moves from psychedelic balladry to slamming rock-out, muted trumpet to blasting guitars, without an iota of awkwardness. By adding some well-chosen spices to an already taste recipe, Mangoo makes Neverland a meal to savor.
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