Mandy Bingham is the eldest daughter of renowned Irish singer-songwriter David McWilliams and mother Gil was also a folk singer. Mandy is a well travelled woman with a unique ability to describe her observations and thoughts through song in a remarkable style that conjures up loads of imagery and scenarios as you listen. It’s really only in the past couple of years however that Mandy has been songwriting, this lead from open mic evenings and small intimate venues to larger gigs and festivals. Last year, Mandy recorded “Not Your Business” as part of a compilation album “Velvet Revolution”, this was soon picked up on and getting air-play from various broadcasters including BBC Radio Ulster’s Ralph McLean and indeed myself. While this was all happening, a strong and steadily growing fan base organically emerged. The next step for Mandy Bingham “Vol.1”
Beginning with “Turn Out The Light”, a particularly dramatic song, I get a strange sense of struggle as I listen to this one, it sounds like a stalemate situation and I love the way the ending can be what ever you choose.
“Calm Before The Storm” is where Vol.1 delves into a more eerie sound. There is a certain seriousness about this song that haunts me somewhat, I hear pain through the lyrics, a feeling that emotions are being held in suspension, the whole time knowing that the inevitable is imminent. The tension continues to build until Mandy completely opens her voice and freely releases all of that contained emotion, singing louder than any voice in her head ever could.
“Oblivion” is a powerful song, it describes perfectly to me how sometimes that feeling of having no cares, concerns or worries is so appealing, just a bit of “Head Peace” or “Escapism” even just for a while. The musical arrangement and Mandy’s delivery on this one keeps it much more upbeat, freely opening her voice again and with some amazing guitar and drums this song has a powerful energy.
Don’t become complacent, track 4 “If This Is Love” is possibly one of the saddest and weirdly conflicting romantic songs I have ever heard. This is a double edged tale with simple words and gentle music. The magic happens between the lines as you comprehend what she’s saying. Warning! this song may cause the eyes to water.
Away with the sad faces and dry your eyes, “The Chicken Song” brings nothing but warm and happy thoughts. Its a picturesque little number with a country rhythm that describes beautifully that perfect blueprint for a lifestyle and existence that would tick all the boxes, now all she has to do is share the vision and hope he doesn’t run a mile.
“If This Is Love” Remix by Ryan Vail retains the simplicity of the original composition. Mandy’s voice is perfectly timed, angelically positioned with piano keys, the continuous tease from the ‘catching’ throughout and the genius ‘voice dipping’ technique used by Ryan magically makes this sound like a duet. Ryan Vail is one of the most talented guys in the industry and a master in his field, I was delighted when I discovered he was involved in this remix.
Vol.1 by Mandy Bingham isn’t background music, its full of conversations and reflections, the lyrics are clever and lead you into various situations without dictating your own individual interpretation. Mandy was performing at this years ‘Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival’ where I first heard some of these songs live and have been waiting eagerly ever since. You can read more from that evening here. Vol.1 is a musical novel and I hope the first of many.