There is, in a way, a lot to be expected of Mansionair’s debut album. With only a handful of singles and hit remixes released, the trio have carved out a solid career (a Grammy nomination already, come on) with very little.
So, can they stand up to a full-length album? With years of tracks building up, life experiences, tours, wins, losses, there’s a lot to cover, and a lot to cull – perhaps exaggerated by the slow streaming service provided for early listeners.
Shadowboxer covers the full spectrum of mood, peak-and-pit. There’s Imogen Heap-esque heartbreak on “Astronaut”, a warm lullaby in “Sierra”, and freedom on “Best Behaviour”. It is, as Jack Froggatt told Forté, the half-time speech you need to hear when faced with the real battles in life.
The band spoke of how a cinematic vision influenced the soundscape of the album too, and it shows. Froggatt thinks if the album were a movie, it would be “The Place Beyond the Pines”. He’s not wrong. Brooding Ryan Gosling, Motorbikes, dappled golden light, all those ocular queues can be heard in the musical arrangements here.
BRB, going to sort out life. Right after we re-watch, and re-listen…
Reviewed by Darby-Perrin Larner