Hailing from Los Angeles, independent pop music scene newcomer Mandi Rose has recently thrown her hat in the ring with ‘Back for More,’ a seven track EP that explores her reverb-soaked take on the genre. The 20-year-old singer songwriter’s collection of songs is surprisingly versatile, showcasing her as a talent that could certainly broaden beyond just “pop” if she ever chose to do so.
‘Intro to Back for More,’ the minute-long, aptly-titled introductory track highlights Mandi Rose as an artist who is experimenting with different sonic ideas in a rather unique way. A scratchy radio switches from station to station as the listener hears Mandi Rose approaching a bevy of songs and genres. This is a perfect lead-in to ‘Make It Ours,’ one of the EP’s better songs. The pop ballad perfectly balances infectious pop influence and compelling production. At times, Mandi Rose is reminiscent of a younger Lana Del Rey.
‘Roll One’ has tinges of hip hop influence, especially in relation to the way the beats are orchestrated for the track. True to its subject matter, ‘Roll One’ is an easy-listening, suave pop ballad that’s non-invasive. It doesn’t have an explosive moment, but it doesn’t need one. It’s subtle and methodic. Structurally, ‘Lies’ is very similar, though that track actually delves into R&B and soul territory that’s especially fascinating for Mandi Rose. Her vocals on ‘Lies’ are some of the finest on the EP.
Another track with hints of R&B influence is the lovely ‘Don’t Go Away,’ a song scored by soft finger snapping and elegantly sparse piano and atmospheric synthesizers. “What about trust, what about us?” Rose croons,“what happened to you and me?” It’s a solemn track about the end of a relationship gone awry despite one party still wanting to fix its remnants.
The only feature on ‘Back for More’ is the rapper Destruct, who is spotlighted on ‘Hennessy.’ Frankly, it’s the least imaginative track of the seven. Both lyrically and musically the track pales in contrast to strong predecessors the likes of ‘Lies’ and ‘Don’t Go Away.’ Destruct does accentuate Rose’s sound nicely, though, and his feature is a welcome inclusion.
The best song on ‘Back for More,’ however, is its self-titled finale. ‘Back for More,’ the song, is the perfect culmination of every element that makes the EP as successful and fresh sounding as it is. There’s pop influence, but it’s injected with a heavy dose of R&B and contemporary soul, and Rose’s conviction as a vocalist sells each performance. ‘Back for More’ is a beautiful finale, and ‘Back for More’ is a truly surprisingly indie pop EP. It’s actually good, and that doesn’t happen often.
Words By Brett David Stewart