Whilst some may say that you should never mix business with pleasure, occasionally the lines blur and the two bleed into each other. More often than not, as a writer or creative person; elements of your personal life end up being expressed through your chosen outlet and at times this can be therapeutic. Mini Mansion’s latest album Guy Walks Into a Bar… is a prime example for this.
Each musician has another band that they’re involved with, outside of Mini Mansions, and difficulties in aligning their schedules meant that their third record almost didn’t happen – in fact, the trio contemplated disbanding prior to the release of their last EP, Works Every Time. Given that they have been together for ten years, this would’ve been no small decision to make. Guy Walks Into a Bar… as a phrase, is the premise for thousands of jokes and there is an irony to Mini Mansions choosing this as the album title. From start to finish, barring a few songs in between, there is an underlying narrative which is incredibly personal to vocalist/guitarist Michael Shuman. It maps out the beginning, and ultimate demise of a relationship... Not so much of a joke when you look at it that way, is it? As a whole, the title stems from the starting point of human interaction.
The outcome of having such a personal attachment to the lyrical content is an album filled with effortless ups and downs. There’s a kind of responsibility that comes with letting all of the idiosyncrasies of your life, seep into your work. It gives you the thought process of tackling things with the upmost care and attention, so as not to offend anybody. Guy Walks Into a Bar… is filled with swagger and begins by throwing you straight into that lustful feeling you get when you’re living life permanently in the so-called honeymoon phase. Whilst the album is filled with content inspired by Shuman’s life, there are light-hearted anecdotes offered from Tyler Parkford, in songs like ‘Don’t Even Know You’ and ‘Forgot Your Name’ with vocals switching between dreamy, lovesick falsetto and cut-throat conversational tones, as they muse over fleeting encounters.
In typical Mini Mansions style, there is a plethora of sounds on the album ranging from the rattling synth-rock of ‘Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)’ to the hints of MGMT psychedelic guitar in ‘Time Machine’ and the dizzying intoxication of ‘Tears In Her Eyes’. What Mini Mansions do best are fast, multi-faceted songs that blur genres. I dare you to find a song that you cannot dance to, in some way – even the slower, sultry, opening of ‘Hey Lover’ in which Mini Mansions collaboration with Alison Mosshart, warrants a swinging of the hips. Tales of love and loss are not something new to think about, but Mini Mansions have just provided us with the perfect soundtrack to listen to on our own personal journeys.
Guy Walks Into A Bar… is released on 26 July 2019 via Fiction Records.