RIYL: The Last Shadow Puppets, Temples, Portugal. The Man, Queens Of The Stone Age
Let’s just say that Queens Of the Stone Age made an amazing (and quite charming!) band after a break in touring. Since 2009, Mini Mansions has been rockin’ socks off for audiences across the world. Their newest album, “Guy Walks Into A Bar…”, is no exception. Here’s my take on MM’s newest release:
Actually, let’s take a moment to appreciate how much of an impact this band had on me in high school with a few throwbacks.
The LA-originated band was founded by Michael Shuman (bassiest of QOTSA), Tyler Parkford, and Zach Dawes. This band is the offspring of Joy Division and The Last Shadow Puppets, and their godfather was chosen as Elton John. Seems like a strange mashup, but honestly, it’s so easy to picture once you’ve listened to their music. I think the Elton John part plays well in their stage performance/attire and their slight classy-fashion vibes in between albums.
In 2009, the band came out with their self-titled EP. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the entire album, but I know of a few tracks. The next year, Mini Mansions released their first full length album, also self-titled. “Mini Mansions” is pretty good the entire way through. I can definitely tell that this was the end of an era in the band because the vibe is just the slightest different from their two most recent albums. Off of their EP and this album, “Majik Marker” is a hit track that has a hazy Beatles sound to it (definitely during their experimental stage). I would suggest listening to this album after hitting some of their top-rated songs. Not my absolute favorite, but their are some bops on “Mini Mansions”.
“The Great Pretenders” has been a game changer for Mini Mansions in 2015 with their biggest hit track: “Vertigo” featuring Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. If you know me, you know that I was freaking out when there was a slight chance that he could’ve came out on stage to sing his verse. (My high school self is REALLY coming out now!). “The Great Pretenders” is probably one of my favorite underrated albums that I’ve loved ever since discovering Mini Mansions. Start with “Vertigo” off of the 2015 album, and let me know what you think! Their synthesized rock sound has definitely been a trademark in the MM society, and is prominent in their newest release.
Mini Mansions is definitely one of those bands that have two different types of audience listeners. The type that love Mini Mansions, and the type that have to take time to warm up to their sound. It’s kind of like the Black Keys, where their sound will never change because it’s already so good already! Mini Mansions’ discography is a great representation of the band, to which they’ve produced similar-sounding tracks with hints of their younger, original style. I would say that “Guy Walks Into A Bar…” has deep roots of Portugal. The Man’s “Evil Friends”. Now that I say this to myself, it’s extremely similar. However, like I’ve said, Mini Mansions can’t change their original style because it’s too good already. If you’re into eerie-sounding rock with keyboards and great lyrics, “Guy Walks Into A Bar…” is definitely for you! To be honest, I think the tracklist for this album could be changed a little. Top to bottom, the overall album is fantastic. But, the track-by-track could be improved with little swaps of a few songs.
The hit tracks from this album include “Works Every Time” and “Gummybear”. However, their are some B-sides that are absolutely rockin’! “Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)” screams young Jessica jamming and dancing at a music festival with her friends when it’s 100 degrees and she doesn’t care how sweaty she is. Check out this one if you “wanna make yourself feel good.” It’s a great song to drive to in the midwestern summer with your Chuck Taylors . Another track that I absolutely love is “Hey Lover”, featuring Alison Mosshart. This song is explicit, so make sure you’re ready for a love-hate relationship between a man and a woman. I think the lyrics of this song can connect to many people in society, and the overall sound of this track is relaxing and somewhat comforting. It’s a great song to have at the end of the album!
Overall, I rate this album a 7/10. Most of the songs have the same taste and vibe, musically and lyrically. It’s not a bad thing foresay, but there’s definitely an edge to Mini Mansions’ music. If you’re into this, check out “Mirror Mountain” off of “The Great Pretenders” (it’s a song in a movie during a high speed car chases)! “The Great Pretenders” was most likely resonates with me better at the moment because it’s what I grew up with. Also, it’s just a very well produced album. “Guy Walks Into A Bar…” will become better and better the more I listen to it! Mini Mansions are way cool in concert, as well! I hope the guys have a few stops in the midwest this upcoming fall or next year; they can put on a show! Even though there’s three of them, their stage performance is vibrant and exciting, track by track. They dress well on stage too! Just charming and handsome dudes with solid music! Make sure to check out Mini Mansions’ newest album, “Guy Walks Into A Bar…”, out now!