Mini Mansions are a band who are making a statement with their second album. Their first album was a low key affair with only one song really making waves, the lead single ‘Monk’. They also had success with their cover of Blondie’s Heart Of Glass. But with their second studio effort, The Great Pretenders, the band are capturing their own sound and with high profile guest spots from Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and Beach Boy Brian Wilson, the band looks to take over the indie music world.
The Great Pretenders is a varied album. Mixing disco/funk tinged tunes with jangly indie pop and sometimes distorted psychedelica, the album is hard to pin to one genre, but Mini Mansions somehow manage to keep a consistent sound throughout the album. Maybe it’s the airtight harmonies between the three band members or the unmistakeably dreamy melodies, but it is Mini Mansions.
Catchy is the aim of Mini Mansions. Whether it’s funky/disco fuelled pop numbers (Freakout!) or bouncy modern indie pop (Double Visions), The Great Pretenders is full of songs that will bury themselves in the subconscious. But, Mini Mansions really shine on two songs; ‘Any Emotions’ and ‘Vertigo’.
‘Any Emotions’ is quite simply one of the best songs to come out in the past few years. Its simple structure is understated and beautiful. Featuring backing vocals from legend Brian Wilson, Mini Mansions aptly pay tribute to Wilson’s band The Beach Boys with a song that is led by over-dubbed bass and guitar parts that create an image of a lazy, Sunday afternoon sat on a beach in California before they let loose on their instruments as Wilson sings “So happy” over and over.
‘Vertigo’ was the most hyped song of the album,due to its guest verse from Alex Turner, but ignore that; with or without Turner, ‘Vertigo’ would have been a triumph. It’s a song that sounds almost tense throughout the verses before a fuzzed up bass and pounding drum permeate throughout the chorus. The title ‘Vertigo’ is definitely no mistake; this is a love song with a slightly sinister, paranoid edge.
The Great Pretenders is not a perfect album. ‘Honey, I’m Home’ and ‘Mirror Mountian’, both distorted and psychedelic in structure, have the unenviable task of following the two highlights of ‘Any Emotions’ and ‘Vertigo’ and in the process seem slightly out of place. But with great tracks like the stylish ‘Death Is A Girl’ on the album, The Great Pretenders is going to be one of 2015’s albums to beat and is going to see Mini Mansions’ career get a whole lot bigger. It is modern indie done right.
Review by James Davidson | @jamesrdavidson2