Article by Andrés Alvarado
If love is not the ultimate topic of conversation, then what really is? In all shapes and forms, love has withstood the test of time. It never ages, it never ends, it regenerates, and one way or another, it is always on our minds. Naturally, singers and songwriters have paid homage to love time and time again for decades and across thousands, if not millions, of albums. That being said, of course, an album chronicling the rise and fall of any given relationship is not a new concept, yet this format presented is utterly enticing, catchy, pop without being generic, and elegant. Mini Mansions‘ Guy Walks Into A Bar… is an open book recap and soundtrack to Michael Shuman and his fizzled engagement.
Guys Walks Into A Bar… deals with the whirlwind volatility and toxicity of a failed, yet memorable what-if kind of affair. Opener “Should Be Dancing” is a crooning display of creepy seduction relating to the initial cat-and-mouse phase of conquering THAT girl once a guy walks into a bar. The anthem plays to a mid-pace sway that grips and refuses to let go of its listener for four plus minutes.
The honeymoon stage is largely told across the ensuing four numbers that encapsulate the highest of highs and the irrationality that comes with new love. From “Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)” to “I’m In Love” and in between an ’80s round of sound waves take over and hands the listener a dance-worthy look into the euphoria of the early days of this commitment. This portion of Guys Walks Into A Bar… is all shake, rattle and roll, as harmony matches what this chapter represents.
Lead single “GummyBear” is an intriguing slice of psychedelic-pop jointed to cleverly cynical lyrics descriptive of the demise of this union. “Boy, I thought you was sweet, girl // but, you’re just sugar free” serenades Shuman; as he commences a sarcastic take-down on the future he and his lady friend will definitely not share — that ends on a note of “No, I got love for you no more.”
The lovely Alison Mosshart cameos on latest “Hey Lover.” A pulsating ballad that details the sorry acceptance of this connection’s conclusion in a hard-to-let-go fashion. It plays overwhelming, sincere, and transports the audience to that sad place within the character’s hearts and state of mind.
With Guy Walks Into A Bar… the lads of Mini Mansions prove yet again they are not just integral pieces to their Big Brother bands, Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys, and The Last Shadow Puppets, but that they can also hold their own — on their own. A record balancing tales of sleaze, lust, deep affection, heartbreak and consequence onto dynamic experimentation of sounds and melody. Truth be told, Mini Mansions has hit a home run here, despite the cliché topic of inspiration (which might be the hiccup haters may point to).
Guys Walks Into A Bar… almost did not happen on accounts of schedules and near disbandment for Mini Mansions, but it did happen, and we are better audiophiles for it. An LP with no real weaknesses and plenty of relatable material can be a recipe for success. Thankfully, the Mini Mansions trio cooked up a delicious take on the different cycles of partnership. Now, let’s feast!
Album Score: 8.5/10 — Key Tracks: GummyBear, Should Be Dancing, Works Every Time and Hey Lover.