Review: Mansions – Best of the Bees

Artist: Mansions
Album: Best of the Bees
Genre: Indie/Rock
Label: Doghouse

2009 was a banner year for Mansions. Emerging from the obscurity of the talent pool that is the internet, Christopher Browder [the sole musician on the act’s albums] has nearly become a [hipster] household name. His melancholy songs about love, loss, and life are about as relatable as music can possibly be and it’s all done with this subtle assuredness met with nervous youthful charm that simply cannot be resisted. The latest offering from this act, Best of The Bees, went online earlier this week with a “Pay What You Want” set up on the band’s BANDCAMP site and I can’t tell you enough how much you should check it out.

Mansions has long been known as an act with a lot of material. Having risen up in the age of home recordings, etc, Browder’s been able to develop a plethora of heartstring banging indie jams and the best of those that didn’t make his 2009 release New Best Friends have ended up on this b-side compilation, Best of the Bees [Get it?].

Kicking things off with “OMG,” Mansions quickly informs any listener that those these are b-sides, they’re definitely not scrapped ideas or tracks. The production and span of the song are mesmerizing and it seems to drip angst like a washcloth soaked in gasoline. Following suit equally, “I Swear” and “Never Enough” keep the lo-fi heartache coming strong and pulls at the listener to both crank the volume and escape from the world their in to join Mansions in what feels like a small, poorly lit room with walls plastered in old photos and love letters that serve to highlight the brighter moments of life and remind us of all our misfortunes.

“LetsBSdTgthr,” the true highlight on the record, comes in at track five to carry us over the halfway mark of the album. This song singlehandedly displays why Mansions is the best artist you’re not giving enough attention. The simplicity of the whole track mixed with the depth of the lyrics and the vividness of it all simply compel you to sit down and take in the song. It’s an experience that anyone that’s ever been depressed and in love will relate to.

Before the album cuts to two great alternate/remix tracks, we’re given the engrossing “18th Bday” and “Unwell” that truly shine. Both tracks have terrific writing and the near Death Cab guitar work on “Unwell” will surely convert some who might find the other mainly acoustic tracks a bit simplistic. However, it’s the lyrics on the song, which involves Browder discussing what seems like nothing more than disdain for another human, that really strike the listener. It’s engaging and raw. What more could you ask for?

If New Best Friends was Christopher Browder’s way of introducing the world to Mansions, then Best of the Beesis his way of wining and dining us before using the emotional depth of tracks like “LetsBSdTgthr” and “Unwell” to get on one knee and propose we love him forever. Well, as far as we’re concerned, the answer to that question is a resounding YES. I do think the debut was a much more fluent and strong album, but that’s to be expected.

Mansions is the future, pay attention.

Score: 7.5/10

James Shotwell
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4 Responses to “Review: Mansions – Best of the Bees”

  1. […] Under The Gun Review » Blog Archive » Review: Mansions – Best of … […]

  2. “This song singlehandedly displays why Mansions is the best artist *your* not giving enough attention”

    really? your? It’s you’re. You are not giving enough attention.

    internet journalism fail…

    great review, though. I enjoyed the read quite a bit. And I do love this record.

  3. James says:

    When that was posted, we were short on staff and quick edits were all that could be accomplished. I apologize for the error and have now corrected it. Thank you for reading!

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