Fences / Mansions - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Fences / Mansions

Split [7-inch] (2011)

Onto Entertainment / King Bone

This quick split release between Fences and Mansions--singer-songwriters named Christopher--came out last year to only a modicum of notice, and that's a shame since both turn in pretty strong performances. And given the names, their pairing is a pretty convenient coincidence.

Fences is basically Christopher Mansfield. And on "Market Place," Mansfield's voice sounds an awful lot like Gregg Dellarocca from the Republic of Wolves, though that probably isn't the most helpful comparison to most people. It's sort of a full-band folk song that doesn't overdo the twang, with some eerie, moaning layers of sound and wildly subtle feedback that makes it quite engaging, especially with the more major-key chorus. Mansfield sings with such patience and grace it's hard not to follow the four-minute song from start to finish, especially with his creepy spoken-word rhymes that close it. If you dig emotional but still musky singer-songwriter stuff like City and Colour check this dude (or least this track) out for sure.

An interesting thing about Mansions' "On My Way" is that it reminds me a lot of the Weakerthans (albeit grumpier, of course), which isn't necessarily something I would say regarding Christopher Browder's numerous other releases. But essentially, if you like Mansions, you'll like this song. It retains Browder's trademark sad-sack, slumping character, like he's enunciating with his mouth only half-open--except for the chorus, of course, where he's alternately sneering and sighing on a dime.

Both these tracks are pretty great in their own right. Whether you're already a fan or looking for an introduction, this split would work for both parties.

Fences - Market Place
Mansions - On My Way