On the debut album by Mini Mansions, we saw the band in a weird place - struggling to find its' feet and relatively unsure of whether or not it was just another Queens of the Stone Age side project or not. On album number two, The Great Pretenders, Mini Mansions finally find their identity and deliver one hell of a record. This is the sound of a band stepping into the limelight.
The album begins with the 1970s glam rock stomp of Freakout, a song which would not be out of place in the back catalogue of arty pop lunatics Sparks. It's a lot of fun and there are even hints of stuff like Haim in the hooks and production but a fidgety middle section keeps it from getting too overtly mainstream flavoured.
Next up is Death Is A Girl, the LP's first single and a new wave tune that Blondie would probably kill for. Every vocal melody in this is a hook and there are so many layers of synths and vocals that create a really interesting and complex atmosphere while still retaining the pop edge. Elsewhere on the album, Mini Mansions take many more cues from new wave on such as on the blissful Any Emotions, which features Brian Wilson and builds from its minimalist starting point into a huge, dramatic conclusion.
Continue reading: Mini Mansions - The Great Pretenders Album Review
Which are the best venues to visit this SXSW?
SXSW 2015 is set to take over Austin, Texas for yet another spectacular event, spanning numerous venues with countless showcases and hundreds of artists. We may be a few weeks away yet, but here's a little taster of some of the best places to be this year.
First up, the Parish is hosting some seminal shows all week, so this should definitely be at the top of your schedule. Wednesday, March 18th sees alt rock Londoners Wolf Alice on the bill, impressing with material from their EP releases; though we are yet to see an album release from these four. Equally, LA newcomers BØRNS are not to be missed, nor are San Diego indie favourites Delta Spirit. Thursday sees The Vaccines promote their upcoming album 'English Graffiti', alongside Palma Violets with 'Danger In The Club', while New York's Lolawolf brings their brand of sensational disco pop to the scene. Friday will be headlined by the Jarman brothers' band The Cribs, and Saturday will see appropriate surf-rock from Florida four-piece Surfer Blood.
Borns will perform at the Parish on Wednesday, March 18th 2015
Continue reading: 5 Venues You'll Want To Visit At SXSW 2015
Over the past decade, very few bands have been able to incorporate psychedelic elements into their music with the arguable exception of perhaps The Flaming Lips. Mini Mansions, who count Michael Shuman (or Mikey Shoes to some) of Queens of the Stone Age and Wires on Fire among their number, certainly have a crack at psychedelic with this impressive album, mixing brilliant piano pop with discordant melodies and mad harmonies.
Continue reading: Mini Mansions, Mini Mansions Album Review