Mansions – Doom Loop
Record Label: Clifton Motel Records
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Even though he’s always been particularly wise, it’s strange to think of Christopher Browder as old. His songs were always one of self-help and self-reflection, but from a place of seemingly eternal youth. With Doom Loop, Browder has packed in layers of fuzz, some grunge and plenty of catchy melodies. And although he’s hovering around the 30 year old-mark, his beleaguered, high-pitched moan hasn’t aged a day. Doom Loop is garnering some much-deserved attention, and rightfully so, but as a fomerly sad college student who reviewed Mansions' New Best Friends back in 2009, this album sounds like the culmination of a kid growing into the man he’s somehow always been.
In a recent listicle on Pop Matters, Browder said that his favorite record of all time is Weezer’s Pinkerton, which I didn’t know, but which is also not shocking in the least. 90’s alt-rock and grungy flannel tunes are all over Doom Loop. And what has become his real signature – asking questions when he already knows the answer – is very Rivers Cuomo. Through songs like fuzzy “Two Suits” and the very loud take on being tired, “Climbers,” Mansions have shifted their sights ever-so-slightly to simplicity. And that’s not meant to be condescending, it’s just to say that Doom Loop has quite a bit of fun rock and anti-social language that never sounds like Mansions are grasping to change things up. It’s a different sounding record than even Dig Up The Dead, but it’s also natural.
Then there’s the relentless headbanger “The Economist.” The second its riff comes in, you’re just ready to be at a Mansions concert, which is honestly not something I’ve thought before. Yes, they’ve done rock and fast and catchy, but “The Economist” is on another level of lo-fi loud. All of that stuff I said about growing old, well, this is the sort of song that can only be made by someone with endless youth. So Browder is getting older and learning new tricks, but there’s something awfully life-affirming about lyrics like, “Cause I’ve been sleeping so long / I’m up on a stage / Scream myself hoarse…Turn around and you’ll get replaced.” It’s the future that’s brightest, and the bridge of this song plays like a sort-of set-up to Mansions’ inevitable post-Doom Loop career. As Mansions stockholders, we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
All over Doom Loop – the power-pop of “If You’re Leaving, the slow-burning downer “100 Degrees” – Mansions deviate from the formula of angsty tunes just enough to make this rock with no need for descriptors. That’s possible because of the band’s voracious knowledge of popular music, and their incredible ability to imitate and mix styles on the fly. Mansions have a sound you can notice from across the bar, but there’s still songwriting distinction here. And Doom Loop is probably the band’s most ownable, and I suspect, most fully realized effort. It’s another reassuring testament to the fact that creativity isn’t a well, but a fountain.
Recommended If You Like: Weatherbox, Into It. Over It., Weezer, The Front Bottoms
Great review. This album is everything I could have hoped for as a follow up to DUTD. Definitely agree about "The Economist" making you yearn to be at a Mansions concert. I'm dying to hear that and "Out for Blood" live.
I mean, they recorded everything but the drums on this album in an apartment, so...
By dorm room I meant the topics he handled and they way he processed them through his songwriting. It was all very nostalgic - this album is more grown-up. Before we enter the "people mature" conversation, I'm aware of that. I just happen to like his older stuff more.