The psychedelic power pop of Mini Mansions can be likened to homemade bread. While some music is like store-bought white bread—uniform in shape and taste—Mini Mansions make music that's thick and delicious, if sometimes chewy, lumpy and unpredictable.
Miniature pop symphonies issue from this album, the band's full-length debut—an under-the-radar, eight-song EP came out last year—owing props to the Tin Pan Alley leanings of the Beatles and progeny such as Badfinger, Big Star, Raspberries, Cheap Trick and Fountains of Wayne.
None of the music here feels predictable, and some is off-kilter enough for casual listeners to need to play the tunes more than once to get a grip. On tracks such as "Kiddie Hypnogogia" and "Majik Marker," the trio of Michael Schuman (bassist of Queens of the Stone Age fame), Zach Dawes and Tyler Parkford craft inviting melodies and close three-part harmonies, and they usually allow the songs to climax in trippy dissonance.
All three contribute vocals and play a variety of instruments; it's a team of utility players all pitching in to do whatever's necessary to create charming songs and mind-blowing cacophony. "The Room Outside" and "Monk" come on like a freewheeling DayGlo carnival, with high-flying vocals, ragtime piano, dense orchestrations and explosive climaxes. The burlesque lurch of "Crime of the Season" sounds like the mutant offspring of Kurt Weill and the Beach Boys.