A band that’s been buzzed about as “a force to watch”, Mini Mansions hit BBC 1’s Single Of The Week with “Death Is A Girl” in mid-December, 2014. With that kind of accolade, and an upcoming full UK tour with Royal Blood, this sun-drenched American band are this week’s obvious Pop Focus choice.
Far less true psychedelic pop then say, The See See‘s “Once, Forever & Again“, this southern California’s pop power trio mix the best of 80s synthpop and New Wave with a contemporary, dark twist. “Geronimo”, the band’s latest single release from The Great Pretenders, mixes airy pop vocals with synth-heavy darkness and toothy, mid-tempo rock groove. As expected for a major label debut, the arrangement, layering, and production on the song are all top-shelf. Catchy, upbeat, and fairly melodic, the song brings well-written and fairly uncontrived pop music to the forefront.
So, the storm rolls in… After we’ve heard a little swirling synth and the quasi-innocent, light-touch vocal of Tyler Parkford (Mr. Goodnite), we’re gradually introduced to a much more substantial tune. Not as deliberately mind-bending as many tunes on their eponymous debut, “Geronimo” features, most noticeably, an acoustic drum sound, courtesy Michael Shuman (Queens of the Stone Age, Wires On Fire). Shuman also contributes some vocal lines to the track, and like Parkford, possesses a considerable and adept range. Performing two roles simultaneously, bassist Zach Dawes (Brian Wilson, studio) holds down and grinds out the low end, plus peppers a searing, very guitar-sounding angular stab here and there. Like a few of the band’s other songs (the cover of Blondie‘s “Heart Of Glass” comes to mind first) the song is a study in slow-building contrast, juxtaposing the ‘kind’ vocal to the ‘dark’ bass undertone, the ‘calm’ melody line to a more ‘driving’ finale.
With a heaviness that courts alt-rock’s darker side, Mini Mansions’s “Geronimo” entices us to listen deeper. It features an ambitious crescendo and widely appealing sound that few others are peddling these days. While not for everyone, it just might soften your blackened metal heart for a few minutes.
Give ‘er a whirl – it’s free!
… And for you “doubters”, they can pull it off live.
Tyler Parkford – Vocals, Keyboards
Zach Dawes – Bass Guitar
Michael Shuman – Drums, Vocals, Guitar