“If I go away
Well can I ever go back, can I ever turn back, no 
No nights that I can’t escape 
cause I ain’t living in the lack 
I ain’t living in the black
I know I could never make it alone.”
~The Economist
Mansions, Doom Loop

I’ve been on a huge Mansions kick lately, mostly because of the new LP “Doom Loop.” It’s album you’ll spot on AOTY from certain niche blogs, probably, but will probably be overlooked by most “popular” critics (mainstream or hipster), because what Mansions does is not what most do to get attention from the “right” people.

What Mansions does is write song of the most emotionally satisfying rock music I’ve heard in ages, and all the minimalist soloists or overdressed orchestra pop of more acclaimed artists of 2013 cannot compare. “Doom Loop” is a study in release and restraint. Mansions is proof of the following: You do not have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to spin it really well.

“I’ve got nothing left to prove. No, I’m too tired to be the nice guy.”~Climbers
Mansions, Doom Loop
This is a guitar-focused band, with straightforward, strategically placed parts. Unique phrasing and huge hooks are pop-friendly, occasionally, but there’s a borderline heavy, high-distortion feel that’s nothing of the sort. “Doom Loop” rock music with real instruments, something so refreshing in these days of manipulation, but it’s done with the sensibilities of 90s grunge and early 2000s emo, making it new and familiar all at once. Female back-up vocals are an excellent touch in this way, as are the consistently on-point bridges. Christopher Browder has a way of bringing it all out front, the heavy hooks and emotional daggers, and dialing it down just right before reaching the point of overdramatic.

I’ve been just as much enjoying rediscovering “Dig Up the Dead,” the last LP and an equally cohesive album. This album is masterfully crafted, as far as “emo” goes, by never surrendering to gimmicks and never straying from the emotional center. The tracks are seamless, the vocal dynamics are just right. I’ve listened to it before, but not this in-depth, not when I’m driving around solo with the volume on 27 and a cigarette out the window. It’s hard for me to decide which album I like more, but it’s easy to get lost them.

“If you don’t write it down, then this never happened.
Tell yourself out loud, “not overreacting.”
Cause no one ever hears your voice
The way that they did when they had no choice.
Their headphones are filled with that useless noise
That swears that you’re not there.

And the one thing that you need
Is the dreams back in your sleep
Where they belong
I’m where I belong, you’ll see
This means everything to me

I don’t want your life where everything’s easy
That Midas touch will unwind
That gold has no meaning

And when you’re in that awful place
Where you call up your friends and it rings for days
Well I never saw a smile that I could not fake
But now what’s left to talk about?

And the one thing that I need
Is the dreams back in my sleep
Where they belong
I’m where they belong, you’ll see
This means everything to me”

~Yer Voice
Mansions, Dig Up the Dead