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