By Christine Leonard
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Mandible Klaw drummer’s first name as Mickey instead of Mikey. We apologize for the typo.
CALGARY — A mighty amalgam of Calgary bands that claims some serious reach when it comes to connecting with their local scene, Mandible Klaw is a partnership with an impressive musical lineage.
All told, the list of artistic affiliations shared amongst drummer Mikey, vocalist Steve, bassist Niall, and guitarists Dave and Justin reads like a veritable “OMG, it’s that guy!?” of YYC rock ‘n’ roll history. “Niall and I were in Spastic Panthers, Justin and I were in Gudenpist and The Bloody Hells, and Steve and I were in the Nrbs,” explains Mikey.
According to vocalist Steve, the concept of forming Mandible Klaw had been brewing for a while when he and Mikey set about recruiting co-conspirators.
“We decided to try and pick out the best parts of our favourite local bands and see if they would be into it,” says Steve. “And they were! Everyone brought some songs and ideas to our first jam and we played out four songs in a couple hours. Then that was it!”
Courting infamy with their well-seasoned debut LP, Mandible Klaw has stumbled upon a rich hunting ground for making original discoveries within familiar territory on their emergent sonic creation.
“I love it. Definitely my favourite release I have been on. The music is really tight and everyone’s input gels really nicely,” Steve continues. “No title and no real theme either. The songs just kind of came out of how we were feeling when we wrote them.”
Capturing the volatile style of the off-the-cuff Mandible Klaw, in-studio and in the heat of the moment, presents a daunting technological challenge. Thankfully, the intuitive skills of producer/engineer Graham Riddle, of Calgary’s Wayfarer Sound, contributed a measure of mix-master control to their audio innovations. Added to that, the steady steam-presses of Canada Boy Vinyl, who stamped out the final product in all of its glossy 12-inch glory.
“Graham was awesome to record with,” confirms Niall. “The recording sessions were really relaxed and, I think, that environment coupled with Graham’s relentless enthusiasm brought out the best in all of us. One of my favourite things about punk music is it’s not indulgent. I love playing shorter songs because you’re not beating an idea to death. Short, explosive bursts are the way to go.”
Fourteen pummeling 90-second-long tunes that create and destroy worlds in the time it takes to fry an egg: now that’s a bargain, and a thrill, at any price.
Mandible Klaw’s album release party is September 10th with 2/3 of Nothing, Norwegian Icebreaker and DSO at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club.AB, Alberta, Mandible Klaw, Palomino