Mini Mansions - The Great Pretenders
Punk is no stranger to the individuals who form Mini Mansions, but neither is melody. While they have all played in various DIY bands throughout their youth, they also share a clear affinity for The Zombies, Gorillaz, and Devo. These three members know how to be imaginative and unorthodox, while having a grasp on the levity in nihilism and love, and the fine line in between. Their new album, 'The Great Pretender's, is released on T Bone Burnett's Electromagnetic Recordings in the States. They are his first signing. Mini Mansions came together via the members' deep personal interconnections, and in the most organic way possible. Drummer / multi-instrumentalist / vocalist Michael Shuman has been playing music with MM bassist / multi-instrumentalist Zach Dawes since age 11. Both Valley kids grew up in Encino sharing their mutual adoration for all things punk rock, which ultimately paved the path for their future musical endeavors. Tyler Parkford, MM vocalist / keyboardist, entered this tight-knit fold after attending University of California Santa Cruz's film program with Dawes. With the passing years, each member made his own way: Shuman took to the stage as a teen, first in iconoclastic punk collective Wires On Fire through his current role as bassist in Queens of the Stone Age, Dawes has served as a studio hired gun and has worked with Brian Wilson, Kimbra, and longtime mentor T Bone Burnett (who had Dawes play bass on the recent all-star Dylan collection Lost On the River: The New Basement Tapes), while Parkford releases music under his solo moniker Mister Goodnite. 'The Great Pretenders' ambitiously reflects the depth, variety, and musical / compositional interplay between these three distinct individuals. It's also probably the only record you'll hear this year that features both Brian Wilson and Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner as guests - indeed, its entire song cycle teems with that kind of surprising discovery. The album also finds Mini Mansions coating its signature hooky psychedelia with a fresh dusting of glitter. 'Heart of Stone' builds from intimately acoustic to trippily symphonic, dancing between Hunky Dory-era Bowie and ELO; likewise, the glam-rock ballad 'Creeps' which comes by its Mark Bolan-esque fuzz guitar solo naturally.