Local Music Reviews
The Right Time (Like We Do Pt. I), Highs and Lows (Like We Do Pt. II)
Mantis Jackson = Earth, Wind & Fire + The Strokes + Status Quo
Mantis Jackson lives up to its self-proclaimed title of genre-benders in the band’s newest release, a double-sided record including The Right Time (Like We Do Pt. I) and Highs and Lows (Like We Do Pt. II). The two albums feature high-tempo blues, rock and jazz tracks, which have become the band’s staple since their conception in 2022 and debut track “Forget About It.” Mantis Jackson produces intense energy, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve just stepped into one of their jam sessions from the moment the music starts. The band is comprised of drummer Hugo Molina Jr., bassist Quinn Reesor, Max Broadhead and Braden Tipton on guitar and backing vocals and Crystal Cahoon leading with eager, bold vocals.
It’s clear they know how to play—this is a band you see in concert just to watch them shred. Technical skills aside, their music has soul. These are musicians who love music and play for that very reason, and their passion shines through the music effortlessly. Listeners can easily hear the band is having fun while playing these songs.
A jazzy bass plucks its way through almost every track on the records, and you can almost feel the vibrations of the bass strings on songs such as “Lady Fate,” “The Others” and “Silky.” Molina Jr.’s percussion is impressive—the kind that makes you wince (in a good way) because a beat hasn’t controlled you like that in a long time. Though Molina Jr.’s skills are incredibly bright on every track, the drums really shine on “Highs & Lows.” Cahoon pounds soulful lyrics into each song, too. Despite her loud, strong and charged voice, the vocals do not overpower her fellow musicians. Her voice seems to simply soar above the tracks—it weaves in and out of the music, always knowing when to lead and when to follow.
This double release is jazzy, fun and dynamic. If nothing else, it will be a stimulating listen. Mantis Jackson has the power to bring people alive and I can only imagine what their presence is like at a live show. –Harper Haase