Mansions - Thyme Travel [cassette] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Thyme Travel [cassette] (2009)

Cougar Child Tapes

Mansions' prolific multitude of material continues with their (his) newest EP, Thyme Travel, a limited cassette release -- and with no digital download, mind you. These are four new original songs recorded by Mansions brainchild Christopher Browder while house-sitting a few months ago. In other words, you probably won't get to hear 'em unless you buy this tape (if they're even still available). But is it worth it?

If you already like Mansions, then yeah, pretty much. "Unwell" shows more growth from the gifted songwriter, providing a somber, layered acoustic/piano narrative with a solid hook embedded within. "All Those Dreams" is a deliberate, muttered buildup with a programmed metronome pushing it along, single-note piano keys plinked in the background and a rising drum pattern adding to the anxiety. The hook for "Lost in Space" sounds like it's borrowing from "Blue Monday" a bit, but Browder avoids making the song too cheesy, instead asking the question ("How does it feel?") in his own emphatic way.

While the dynamic, powerful soundscape provided by producer Mike Sapone was one of the strongest points on Browder's full-length, New Best Friends, released earlier this year, Thyme Travel definitely contrasts, but not in a bad way. It seems simultaneously more organic and unintentionally reverb-y.

If Brand New is the persistently lazy comparison, then the more morose, acoustic-based Fight Off Your Demons demos provide an able RIYL. Thyme Travel is a little more raw and puts Browder's vulnerabilities a bit more on display, but it's another solid notch on his musical belt.

All Those Dreams