The second of our March album madness comes out of my favorite little corner of the rock industry, a project from one of Joshua Homme’s desert misfits known as Mini Mansions. Their first album was released in 2011–it is best described it as what would happen if John Lennon wandered out into the same bizarre desert conditions that spawned Queens of the Stone Age, wrote an album and then through a complicated series of events, that album somehow managed to see the light of day. To say it is quite a trip or a gonzo fantasy seems to be an understatement. But to be quite honest, that is not what we are here to talk about.
Their new LP The Great Pretender is completely enthralling, a wild journey of muddled feelings. Now if you did a little reading before spinning the album, two names are going to pop out at you. Brian Wilson and Alex Turner. The former is a Beach Boy, and you would pretty much need to be living under a rock to not have heard of Alex’s Arctic Monkey’s.
The two collaborations are both strong tracks, and the official video for “Any Emotions” stars the infinitely talented Colin Hanks. But if you’re focusing on the dog pile of superstars here, then you just missed all the best parts. You really can’t help but notice a real 80’s vibe pouring off this vinyl. It’s totally infectious and maintains an almost dance floor tempo for most of the album (It’s okay people, Pop isn’t a dirty word anymore). Track after track shows just how diverse and deep the musical talent runs in this band, and it isn’t much of a surprise that talent like Alex turner is hanging out just to see what they do next.
If I may have my final word, my favorite part of both of these two Mini Mansion albums is the tremendous amount of perspective you gain on the contributions and impact that Mikey Shoes has truly made to QotSA, and any true fan of theirs should quickly find these albums sorted into their regular rotation.
Simply put, music like this makes it okay for bands like Queens of the Stone Age to take a few years in between releases. I can’t believe I just said that, but it’s true.