Record Review: Mini Mansions – The Great Pretenders

By Declan Roberts (@declanmr)

After five years you’d expect some change of sound in a band, and that’s exactly the case with Mini Mansions. Their self-titled debut focused on dream-pop melodies and Kinks inspired lyrics. ‘The Great Pretenders’ is a darker and fiercer affair that casts a shadow over their previous form.

The backing vocals on lead single ‘Death Is A Girl’ echo with a sinister nature and the aggressive drops on ‘Vertigo’ make for an exciting listen. ‘Freakout!’ is quite the opposite. The a Capella calls of “I’ve been down” sound exuberant whilst touching on such a sad topic.

Don’t let the noisy opening of ‘Creep’ fool you. It continues with overt Pink Floyd influences combined with the subtle shoegaze elements of Ride or Slowdive’s ballads as falsettos ring out left, right and center. ‘Fantasy’ is an electronic and synth based number with a lightning pace similar to early Tame Impala. ‘Honey I’m Home’ reiterates the eeriness of the record, the spectacularly deep bassline tip-toeing with the suspense of a Hammer Horror soundtrack. ‘Mirror Mountain’ meanwhile is no doubt the rockiest song they’ve written. It bursts with guitar, bass and drum madness that even post-rock outfit This Will Destroy You would be proud to call their own.

The variety and diversity of Mini Mansions’ songwriting is clear to see. From track one to eleven we are treated to a creative utilization of genres which makes for a beautiful and surprisingly fluid album. It’s quite a feat. Alex Turner’s and Brian Wilson’s guest appearances support this. Their experience and talented vocals add a sophisticated tone to the record. A superb comeback for the LA trio.

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