Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Dig Up The Dead" by Mansions

"Dig Up The Dead" by Mansions was released on
April 5, 2011 on Burning House Records/King Bones
Christopher Browder is the voice behind Mansions and it’s never rang out with more honesty and poignancy than on his latest release, “Dig Up The Dead”.  “Dig Up The Dead” clocks in at just over a half hour, but it’s filled from top to bottom with incredible lyricism and songs that are crafted into sonic rollercoasters that are usually driven with Browder’s acoustic guitar at the core of each piece.  Browder has broken the barriers that prevent songs from being both emotive and catchy, each song on this album is a brief glimpse into the reality of Browder and it’s a truly invigorating listen.

The influence of a multitude of artists is found in this album, with inspirations being drawn from names like Ryan Adams, The Get Up Kids, and Elliott Smith, it’s a breath of fresh air when it comes to the sound that Mansions produces.  As previously stated the core of each song can be found in an acoustic guitar, but the moments that shine through come with full instrumentation.  Although the post-rock vibes and early indie influences certainly make Browder’s sound a little more accessible than just a man and an acoustic, but that is where the brilliance of each song lies.

Browder’s lyrics tow the line between personal and relatable, tracks like “Call Me When It’s Over” and “You Got Cool” are standouts that conger up images of rejection and loneliness with the ever present theme of hope for tomorrow.  “Call me when it's over, I'll come by and get my things/Won't look in your eye, yeah, I'll stay out of your way”, Browder takes a cliché and makes it original with stark honesty and simplicity.  Browder’s lyricism is excellent in every sense of the word, his ideas aren’t groundbreaking but his phrasing and sense of creating catchy melodies with heart breaking content certainly is.  Tracks like “City Don’t Care” will have you belting out lyrics that quite frankly can pull at your heart strings when viewed on paper. “My tired heart ticks, like an electric clock/Heavy on my wrist, wish I could make it stop”, lines that are filled with longing and despair, but tinged with infectious melodies that leave these words stuck in your head for days to come.

Overall the album has excellent flow, nothing feels out of place and the pacing is perfect.  Browder’s style of songwriting is captivating because of the absolute sincerity found amongst it all, the influences of Elliott Smith and the like certainly ring through.  It’s invigorating to hear all of the influences mesh together into one, fuzzy guitar and explosive drums with the “emo” crooning of a young man who’s become a “tired ghost” belting out his innermost thoughts and feelings.  This album is solid from top to bottom, and if there was a weak song to point out on the album I’d do it, but there really isn’t one.  This is my album of the year so far hands down.  A truly excellent piece of work, it will be incredibly interesting to see how Christopher Browder grows as a songwriter between now and his next release because he’s by far one of the most captivating “emo” songwriters to come out in recent years.

Rating: 9.5/10
Standout Tracks: "Dig Up The Dead", "City Don't Care", "You Got Cool"

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