War is constant, and driving, and cruel. Its brutal rhythm pulses through “Bottle Episode,” the new single from Manchester experimental band Mandy, Indiana. The latest taste of their forthcoming … EP plows forward like the dead-eyed trudge of a doomed man. Words like “war” or “combat” are never spoken, but their atmosphere engulfs you. Splashing, circular snares suggest the dutiful forward motion of a marching line, or steady rounds of gunfire. Scott Fair models his howling guitar riffs after a flood siren, occasionally breaking into the shrill rattle of a fire alarm. Vocalist Valentine Caulfield, who sings in her native French, repeats the last phrase of each verse in a chilly whisper. The echoed lines mimic the cyclical drum pattern with the momentum of a military cadence.

In theory, “Bottle Episode” should be a punishing, joyless song, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Caulfield and Fair evoke a sense of dread that’s exhilarating, like the beats of a well-constructed thriller. They are curious writers who allow chance sounds to seep into their recordings: On “Bottle Episode,” they capture footsteps, a passing train, and piano phrases spilling in from the hallway of their studio space. The underlying textures invite you in; despite its rigidity, “Bottle Episode” teems with gritty little details. They crescendo as the song stretches on, stomping toward its tragic conclusion: “And as the bullets hit them,” Caulfield chants, “the men dance almost.”

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