Mansions - Dig Up the Dead

Album cover
Alternative, Emo, Indie
Doghouse
Mansions
Dig Up the Dead
Mansions - Dig Up the Dead Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

The heart-on-sleeve mantra is ultimately the most vulnerable tactic an artist can utilize. Christopher Browder (aka Mansions) is ultimately a vulnerable man. Therefore, his character and persona transcends into his music. After signing with Doghouse in 2008, and releasing both an EP (aptly titled the same thing), as well as the critically-accepted full-length New Best Friends, the world, or in this case the music world, was officially let into the world that is Browder’s own; a hotbed of teenage (now twenty-something) angst, riddled with confusion, doubt, love, hatred, and apathy of the universe that houses him. With the release of Dig Up the Dead, we get officially “one-upped”, so to speak, into the head and heart of this troubled youngster.

Mansions’ art is reminiscent of “old-school Emo”, such as Rites of Spring, The Promise Ring, and Sunny Day Real Estate. The comparison may seem blasphemous at first read; however, if you were to listen to the album from start to finish, it’s easy to understand the connection to the legends of this heralded genre. His rough musicianship, sometimes stripped down to just his voice, and the strumming of a sparsely distorted guitar (see “Call Me When It’s Over”), is not complex or filled with technical leads that craft a cathartic melody, but instead his boyish croon is crowned as the king of the show, not uncommon to his predecessors. While not musically overwhelming (or just whelming), the analog is the background to lyrics full of angst-driven poetry.

Just like Doghouse legends The Get Up Kids, Mansions portrays a charisma riddled with imperfection, albeit the beauty is in that very charisma. While the confusion displayed in Browder’s lyrics aren’t unusual or uncommon, they’re intriguing nonetheless. In “Seven Years”, Browder sings of his spiritual doubt by singing “If I don’t believe in the afterlife does that mean I can’t go? Will it be me and me and me alone?” The expression of his doubt is relatable to nearly everyone, and when an artist can write songs that can relate to anyone, and express it in poetic prose, then it’s a good match, if I must say.

Browder’s crooning timbre is extremely reminiscent of Matt Pryor, and so is his songwriting ability. While this was adeptly expressed in his prior work New Best Friends, it’s more fine-tuned and mature on Dig Up the Dead. Hopefully, Browder will continue writing relatable tunes, but as per usual, only time will tell.

1. Dig Up the Dead
2. Blackest Sky
3. Not My Blood
4. City Don't Care
5. Call Me When It's Over
6. Wormhole
7. Close That Door
8. Seven Years
9. You Got Cool
10. Yer Voice

Mansions is a rock band based out of Louisville, KY. On record it has consisted solely of Christopher Browder, but live he is joined by Sal Cassato on drums and Ryan Davis on bass. Mansions plays indie-pop-rock sometimes described as The Get Up Kids meets Ryan Adams meets Dinosaur Jr. Their lyrics are often powerful and blunt, but many listeners can easily relate to the things their songs portray. ... read more

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