For Mansions, It’s About the Music
It seems to me that clever, well-thought out lyrics that convey both an honest and relatable message are hard to come by in today’s world. Yet, it seems that a band gaining popularity on the music scene, is achieving fame for just those reasons. Mansions are quickly becoming Louisville, Kent. gem on the alternative music scene. Although the band is merely two years old, they’ve already signed to Doghouse Records and, just this last March, come out with their first full-length album, titled “New Best Friends.”
Mansions, when heard on recordings, are limited to one musician by the name of Christopher Browder. This makes it difficult to refer to the artist as a band, despite what the multiple instruments might tell you. Browder is a multi-instrumentalist and on albums plays every instrument that one hears. Yet live, Browder teams up with drummer Sal Cassato and various tour-mates to produce a recreation of the recordings.
My time with Browder tells me a few things about the band. For one, Mansions is still growing. Browder seems aware of the recognition the band has received but doesn’t seem to (or even want to) focus on it. He is an individual that is caught up in the essence of the music itself and seems to stay away from the financial side of everything. During our time together, he leaves the merchandise table unattended. Much of his music is released to his fans on a pay what you want system. Browder seems to be in this whole thing not for money but instead for the sake of music.
At first listen, one is able to tell that Mansions is a band that pours its heart into the music that it produces. This music breaks the mold, fusing what shouldn’t normally exist in the same song. The overall essence of every song is a beautiful mix of raw yet precisely refined sounds, while Browder’s voice shows relatable confusion while promising security and comfort. Lyrics tend to focus on telling a story and, as a listener, one follows Browder through each event, reliving every moment. These lyrics remain clever, and at times you apply these situations to your own life and smile while remembering something of the past. There really is a simple beauty in the music and lyrics presented by Browder in every song.
After Browder’s set, a few college girls walk over to meet him. Browder does his best to show appreciation yet he seems completely uninterested in what everyone knows the girls want. He doesn’t seem to fill the rock star idea of talking with the pretty girls who dressed up and came out just to see his set. The girls awkwardly linger while Browder glances at his phone, and stares intently toward the stage where John Nolan (Straylight Run, ex-Taking Back Sunday) has just started his set.
While Browder becomes visibly lost in the music, I wonder if he knows how big Mansions will become in the future. Nolan, eight years Browder’s senior, remains on stage and I realize that Browder reminds me very much of the figure he doesn’t take his eyes off of.
Nolan found his comfort as he left one of the most promising bands in the industry, pushing away money to focus on what mattered to him: music. Browder focuses on the music from the get go, and it’s my belief that the money will naturally follow. However important that is to the entity that is Mansions, I am unsure, but I do know that Browder has created one of the most amazing records I think I have heard in quite a while. He’s quickly become a recognizable artist in the indie scene and I have no doubt that his next release will break him through to a much larger audience. When Cassato and Browder team up, the result is an emotionally loaded, musical masterpiece.
Audio Interview with Mansions: