Review of Mini Mansions Album by Mini Mansions

Over the past decade, very few bands have been able to incorporate psychedelic elements into their music with the arguable exception of perhaps The Flaming Lips. Mini Mansions, who count Michael Shuman (or Mikey Shoes to some) of Queens of the Stone Age and Wires on Fire among their number, certainly have a crack at psychedelic with this impressive album, mixing brilliant piano pop with discordant melodies and mad harmonies.

Mini Mansions Mini Mansions Album

The album opens up with the haunting synth-led Vignette #1, a calm-before-the-storm type of track, which then goes into the blissful pop of the likes of The Room Outside and Monk, both songs offering beautiful harmonised vocals straight out of The Beatles' songbook. The interplay between piano and bass guitar is a joy to listen to.

After Vignette #2 however, the album really embraces psychedelia, with the excellent Kiddie Hypnogogia, in which a light piano refrain gives way to a blistering and joyful riff, knocking seven shades right out of your speakers. Following that is Majik Marker, whose bass lines are very much indebted to Queens of the Stone Age; as is the way it builds to a clattering crescendo at the end, just like A Song for the Deaf. It is brilliant stuff.

With elements of everything from psychedelia, The Beatles and Britpop thrown in for good measure, Mini Mansions have put together a brilliantly crafted album. It is playful in an after dark kind of way. Where it might not appeal if you were a hardcore Wires on Fire fan, it is an accomplished treat for when the Queens have some down-time.

Ben Walton

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