Vol. 1 – Mandy Bingham

County Down songwriter Mandy Bingham is set to release her debut record, the aptly named 'Vol 1', which owes much to Americana past but with a contemporary edge.

We long been admirers of County Down’s Mandy Bingham at Folk & Tumble and we’ve enjoyed watching a few live performances over the years featuring her and soul mate guitarist husband Graham. So, when we got a chance to review Mandy’s debut EP ‘Vol. 1’ we jumped at it.

‘Turn Out The Light’ is a mean, moody opener. Catchy rhythm guitar and grungy slide combined with Mandy’s vocal reminds us in places of Jefferson Airplane.

‘Calm Before The Storm’ continues in a similar vein to the opening track, but this time Mandy’s voice is put through a modulator which adds an ethereal and vulnerable touch to it. This quickly became a favourite on the EP due the fact that Mandy’s vocal phrasing reminded us of Mary Hopkins.

‘Oblivion’ is a nod to past days of heady rock n’roll and echoes Neil Young’s sound on ‘After The Gold Rush’. Haunting lap steel guitar wails away throughout and there’s a great grungy guitar solo to end. Another favourite.

‘If This Is Love’ screams classic country bar room music at us. This is the sound track you expect to hear from a jukebox when you walk into a Nashville bar. Another uncluttered and seemingly simple song that allows Mandy to show that she’s a singer that’s at home singing Americana as well as folk music.

‘The Chicken Song’ is pure fun. With its clever and catchy lyrics this one could easily sit on any Beatles album. In particular it reminds of ‘Two Of Us’ from ‘Let It Be’. Both are love songs and portray a powerful message in a fun and uncomplicated way. Another firm favourite added to our growing list.

A remix of ‘If This Is Love’ by Ryan Vail ends the record and this one takes us out on truly unexpected, yet clever ending. Inspired is the best way to describe what Ryan and Mandy have done here.

‘Vol. 1’ is a debut release that punches well above its weight. The clever and stripped back production allows Mandy’s vocal and song writing skills to take centre stage. There’s a lot going on in the lyrics that only becomes apparent after several listens and on this record we find a very talented song writer who has developed her own sound and style that acknowledges past influences and also creates a work of truly individual and original beauty.

‘Vol. 1’ is released on the 1st of June. Visit mandybingham.co.uk for more.