Mandrake Handshake share the swirling psychedelia of ‘Monolith’.

A slice of blissed-out and good-time psychedelia, the Oxford dectet lead a new psych shake up.

Words: Brad Harris | Photo: Lola Stephen

Mandrake Handshake are a 10, count ‘em, 10-piece, self-styled ‘flowerkraut’ band from Oxford, and just in time for the sunny days of Spring have blessed us by dropping the soaring, swirling psychedelia that is Monolith last week. Eagle-eyed (eared?) fans may have noticed the upholding of the Oxonian tradition of taking their name from a key inspiration (see Radiohead), and their intentions of providing a blissed-out good time are in step with the Brian Jonestown Massacre from whom they take their title.

If your still with us, then the psychedelic underground of the 60’s is likely your bag, and Monolith will undoubtedly be right up your street. Chorus-laden guitars lay on a bed of gratifying shaker rhythms, panned synth drones and even an occasional sitar flourish. Along with the release comes the announcement of an EP recorded by Andy Ramsay of Stereolab, another key point of inspiration for the band who also point to Japanese anime and pastoral Latin poetry as an influence.

In their own words the band explain that the track is “broadly about coming of age,” and that it “represents a freedom from the restraints of childhood and simultaneously the anxiety of future independence,” singling out the repeated line “uncertainty is the price of being free,” in particular. With their EP dropping June 18th on Nice Swan and a run of brilliant singles in their arsenal, Mandrake Handshake are set to become a force to be reckoned with and a singular entity in a scene in need of a little psychedelic shakeup. Find the band on Spotify here.