Mike and Mandy are Amanda Pajer, a singer-songwriter, and Michael Faulkner, a producer-arranger-songwriter, who met while working on a professional production of William Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors.” Both shows established a tribute group at a young age that has toured for years and began producing original music during COVID-19 lockdowns. “Shelter in Place,” their debut EP, which includes several of their tracks, was published on May 27, 2022.

“Shelter in Place” encapsulates the communal experience of a global epidemic, with influences ranging from trip-hop to folk, dub reggae to disco, and post-punk to funk. The songs chart a journey through lockdowns, beginning with a mellow, chilled-out message of universal love (“Are You Now,” “Wormhole”), progressing to a metaphorical time-trip through the wormhole (“Tesseract”), the stir-crazy need to act out setting in (“Ricochet”), and ultimately resulting in the revelation of what matters (“Lovesong”).

“Are You Now,” a top-notch track that exudes nostalgia, kicks off  the “Shelter in Place.” Ep. The lyrics are profound and provide a deep message to the listener about love and deep connection, which is ideal for stuffing emotions.

The EP’s second single, “Wormhole,” modifies the tone of the EP with a significantly slower approach. This song has a dub reggae vibe to it, with lots of bass and acoustic layups. The acoustic is a nice touch that seems like it accompanies you around the tune.

“Tesseract,” the third track from the EP, continues the metaphorical time-travel through the “wormhole.” This tune is lively, and its impact is amplified by outstanding instrumentation with a choir opening, which seems like the best section of the EP.

“Ricochet,” the fourth single, is also a bit different and features the most lively beats and noises. I’m thinking it’s the atmosphere that makes the singing so effective. It appears to be more upbeat music, but the lyrics and the stir-crazy actions in the preceding song suggest otherwise.

The EP concludes with “Lovesong.” It’s my favorite music on this EP, and it’s well-produced. The voices and accompanying music paint two parallel narratives that intersect periodically.

“Shelter in Place” was created by and for isolated people. There is solace in a song well sung, and comfort in a chorus. Mike and Mandy hope the experience of listening to them is as soothing as making them was.

Listen to “Shelter in Place” by Mike and Mandy on Spotify and let us know what you think. Cheers!

1. Are You Now
2. Wormhole
3. Tesseract
4. Ricochet
5. Lovesong