Photo: Lola Stephen

Oxford newcomers Mandrake Handshake deliver dizzying psych-pop on “Gonkulator”

Mandrake Handshake are an Oxford-based collective who caused a stir with their single “Mandragora” earlier this year, and they have been snapped up by cult label Nice Swan, who will release their debut EP in early 2021. Ahead of that, they’ve delivered another dose of their psych goodness with a song called “Gonkulator”. They say:

“This is our 3-minute party tune, but in swung 5/4 ‘cause who doesn’t love a good 5/4 groove!? It’s a song about sheer joy, happiness and freedom for two-and-a-half minutes – can’t be any longer because it’s too much otherwise!”

Indeed, that 5/4 time signature gives “Gonkulator” a swirling feeling like it’s spinning around your head, teasing you with flashes of colours both known and unknown. Of course, Mandrake Handshake’s impressive instrumentation is the meat on the bones of the beat, and the luminous flute that lights the way is particularly hypnotic, as if it’s guiding you deep into a grotto where a secret underground party is going on, blissfully unaware of what’s happening in the world. Much like the title “Gonkulator”, it’s hard to know what the song is all about – electricity passing between bodies, mystical movements that make you feel as though you’re flying – it doesn’t really matter, because this is one of those you just have to roll with, and boy is it fun.

Listen to “Gonkulator” below or on your preferred streaming platform.

Look out for Mandrake Handshake’s debut EP early next year. For now you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.