Made of Mana (MoM) is a jazz-infused quartet from San Francisco, and their self-titled EP was recently released July 28 – in anticipation an LP coming later this year. MoM is made up of four lifelong friends (Phil, Sean, Dane, Alec) who have worked together previously with MoM being their latest and greatest effort. The band’s influences include Jimi Hendrix and John Mayer – you’ll be able to tell when you hear blistering guitar solos aplenty and good ole fashioned finger work. I gotta say, this album is smooth; the first track (and latest single) “Tired of Waiting” is a masterclass in jazz-adjacent rock with the tightest of guitar/drum combo I’ve heard in awhile (listen for the solo around 2:40). Speaking to the track, the band had this to say via their website:
“We spend so much of our lives being told to be patient, when we really need to take action to manifest the things we want in life. This song inspires listeners to stop waiting and begin creating the lives they dream about.”
The second track, “Sorry,” keeps up the momentum but showcases lead singer Phil’s vocal range, presumably lamenting a failed relationship… But that doesn’t mean the guitar takes a break. The solo comes again toward the back half of the track and is more to the background but no less impressive. “Finally Home” and “After the Storm” settle into more of a subdued groove with the former managing to be inspirational without falling into the hole of empty proselytizing; can confirm I did feel a bit lighter on my feet after a listen. “After the Storm” has flashes of prog rock tones throughout while keeping a wistful yet hopeful tone throughout – certainly valid after getting through a personal trial or breakup.
“Sinner” is the capstone of the EP and the production value on it cannot be understated. Hums of organ mixing with the strumming guitar throughout give a “cool non-denominational church on Sunday vibes but with a really cool blues guitarist” vibe. Feeling like a heel turn from “Sorry,” this smacks like someone who is comfortable in their own skin and isn’t afraid to show it – possibly leaving someone special behind:
Don’t you know that I’m a sinner
I’ve done some damage along the way
I had to follow my own path, so sad to say, it’s without you