Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There's equal blame to go around in a Mansions song. There are all kinds of self esteem issues and there are all kinds of people feeling as if they're doing wrong, as if they're blowing it. They feel like they've got one good shot at this - whatever this is - and they're pissing it down there legs. The more piss, the more rotten days and the more they dig their grave, or so they think. They begin to wallow and they look at everything as being halfway dead or halfway gone. There's a humorlessness to the way that Louisville's Christopher Browder approaches his subject matter, though it's not necessarily the content that gets the sad sack treatment. It's the general presentation that takes a stroll through that miserable gray day feeling, cutting us these scenes the way Owen Ashworth would with his late project, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. These are morose tales of human failings, many of which are just perceptions, but they speak louder, so they hurt deeper. The people in these songs are those who have those days where they just don't want to get out of bed. It's when food doesn't taste anywhere near appealing. They are gutted and they can point directly to the reasons. They know the culprits. They claim that they were so full of shit. They claim that others were so full of shit and they both met in the middle and that's where they stayed for a while. These are people who spin their tires in the mud, thinking that the harder they step on the gas, the better chance they might have of getting unstuck. It goes on like that for a while until they have to hop out of the cab, go back and look at the mess they've made, realizing that they're not going anywhere for a while. It's then when the reflection comes and the fingers are pointed. It's not pretty. It seems as if there are ill feelings being cast every which way on Mansions albums. Some of them are hurtful - or could be taken as such - but others are just plain-spoken and vanilla, as if there should be no arguing the finer points of the sadness abounding and where it may have originated. There are those who are slowly coming to terms with things, or the people who are last to leave the party - either because they're unaware that it's over or they have nothing to go home to. Things taste bad on tongues - or the "tips of terrible tongues" as Browder puts it. We're not sure how these stories are going to end or how they're supposed to end. We think they might just keep driving, the pulse the same, the eyes straight-ahead, a bit worn out. On "Tangerine," Browder sings, "I know it's hard to be alone/But it's harder still to let those feelings grow/Everyone is scared of showing people who they are/I know everyone knows if you let them in they'll break your heart/You are worthless if you're waiting/Play it safe yeah play it cool/While you run away from everything/I don't ever envy you." You wonder if the person he's singing to feels the same way. Neither is right and neither is wrong.