At first I found Mandalay a bit underwhelming - but like all the best albums they grow on you. I generally prefer upbeat music but Mandalay is the antithesis of this - minimalist, low-key and understated. It all depends how you listen to it. This is not pop music to dance to but a stylish fusion of trip-hop/ambience/female vocals that is more suired to when you are relaxing or also doing something else - like artwork etc. - ie. creatively inspiring. Lead singer Nicola's relentlessly 'Larry the lamb' quivering voice may irritate at first but soon becomes beautifully intoxicating and other singers become plain in comparison. The instrumentation is superbly subtle and inventive. I can hear many influences ranging from the Blue Nile-esque minimalist piano and string arrangements to early J.J./Jan Johnston vocals. The delicate vocals also invite comparisons to Naimee Coleman, Santessa, Idha and Elizabeth Frazer of Cockteau Twins fame - If you like Mandalay then check these artists out. This is famously quoted as Madonnn's favourite band - I can see why - I like some of Madonna's subtler 'Ray of light' material but it can't touch Mandalay for shear exquisite class.