After taking a mesmerizing step forward on their last record, Mini Mansions return is more of a confirmation of talent than anything else. Mini Mansions’ tap into more pop sensibilities in this project, showing their ability to appeal to the mainstream but not going much further. Luckily Mini Mansions do enough experimenting on this latest album that it will satisfy your hunger for a little while.
Mini Mansions’ penchant for synths takes a smooth detour on this record, as they slip back into the 80s just as often as they push new boundaries. “Works Every Time” flows like a neon dream as they ooze out a cool sense of romance that only grows better through their harmonies. While some lyrics come off as cliché, so many of their chorus hooks are contagious enough for you to easily forgive that. With their additional full-stops in the production, there’s a strong sense of tension and fun to what they do that makes the song more fun. If anything it’s really only the generic pop quality that the song runs on that holds it back from standing out more.
“Midnight In Tokyo” however brings out some bizarre riffs to up their overall sonic palette for the album while also holding a strong pop core to appeal to new fans. The misty production and trading vocals also add this strangely dark and seductive layer to the song that is as foreign as it is intriguing. Just as the track starts feeling a tad long, they move through weird breakdowns full of creepy delay and off-putting drums to leave their sound even more haunting.
Where they start this latest EP with pop tracks that run a little too long for their own good, “This Bullet” keeps things tight and to the point. Though the track is pulling from about 5 different previous Mini Mansions tracks, their delivery is so immediate and arresting that you will be too caught up in the energy of the song to care. Their uplifting harmonies feed the glowing synth lines as well to create something heavenly while a little freaky to say the least. Even as the track begins running out of steam, the frantic drum delivery picks things up enough to send it off loud and proud.
With Mike Kerr in tow, “A Girl Like You” maxes out the album’s grimy riffs while mixing it up with lounge-like beats as well. While you do have to accept the track’s lyrics as a kind of blues-rock throwback, there is so much going on in the choruses that it’s an easy compromise to make. Their aggressive drumming and shift between dance and rock energies keeps listeners on their toes and taps into Michael Shuman’s Queens Of The Stone Age sounds the most, without feeling derivative.
Words by Owen Maxwell