A sonically stunning story of love found, and love lost…

Sleek electro-pop that sonically tells the story of love – love found, and love lost – is the best way to describe indie-pop trio Mansionair’s debut album ‘Shadowboxer’.

Beginning with 13-second opener ‘Est’, the record launches into bass-heavy, Malclub track ‘Alibi’, that seamlessly blends into the surreal melancholy of previous hit ‘Easier’, as the vocally and lyrically charged ‘Astronaut (Something About Your Love)’ keeps this melancholic vibe going.

The anthemic ‘Technicolour’ comes next, as an early contender for the 16-track album’s highlight before softer ‘Heartbeat’ cocoons the listener in its tranquil dreaminess.

The quiet, piano-led ‘Sierra’, slow-build ‘Best Behaviour’ and the catchy, yet calming beats of ‘Shadows’ are other stand-outs, bringing in a touch of serene clarity, balancing out the presence of thumping dance tracks such as ‘Alibi’, ‘Waiting Room’ and killer single ‘Violet City’.

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At first listen, in its first few minutes, you expect ‘Shadowboxer’ to be a collection of bops and bangers, best experienced in the club. But the Australian threesome prove their lyrical-prowess and vocal range in ‘Falling’ and ‘Harlem’, tracks that shine brightest within an already impressive soundscape.

Penultimate track ‘I Won’t Take No for an Answer’ makes minimal use of instrumentals, as it focuses on a soaring vocal. A song that comes across filled with anguish, it hurts even as it keeps you listening before segueing into the perfect end with ‘Heirloom, a flowing track that lulls you while still prompting you to dance along.

The album blends quiet introspection with a need to let go of troubles and enjoy yourself, all while immaculately keeping with the theme of love that it encapsulates. Breathy vocals, brilliant lyricism and Mansionair’s unique brand of dreamy alt-pop have come together in ‘Shadowboxer’ to create an offering that fails you in no way.

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From the second ‘Est’ graces your ears, till the glitchy last note of ‘Heirloom’ fade away from your hearing, the album doesn’t disappoint the listener as several tracks battle each other to become the most memorable of the lot.

Keeping you on your toes – while simultaneously comforting you with its familiar story of love – Mansionair’s debut is a highly commendable piece of modern music.

Words: Malvika Padin

8/10

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