Mansionair — Shadowboxer (1 March 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)•⊆⊇•      Mansionair are a force to be reckoned with on their debut LP.
Location: Sydney, New South West, Australia
Album release: 1 March 2019
Record Label: Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC,
Duration:     52:05
01 Est   0:12
02 Alibi   3:39
03 Easier   4:32
04 Technicolour   3:20
05 Heartbeat   2:40
06 Astronaut (Something About Your Love)   3:22
07 Violet City   3:33
08 We Could Leave   4:26
09 Shadows   3:29
10 Waiting Room   3:09
11 Falling   3:23
12 Sierra   1:21
13 Harlem   3:47
14 Best Behaviour   4:30
15 I Won’t Take No for an Answer   2:10
16 Heirloom   4:32
℗ 2019 Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC, distributed by AWAL
•⊆⊇•     “I feel like purgatory is almost over. I’m just trying to be okay with the fact that I can’t change anything anymore,” Mansionair frontman Jack Froggatt tells Apple Music. The Sydney indie~electronic trio’s debut album is finally out, after a three~year creative process that involved retreating to a cabin in the mountains. Below, he talks through the meaning behind all 16 tracks on the lush, long~awaited Shadowboxer.
•⊆⊇•     “For such a short song, it has quite a story. It was named after the Estey piano that we put in our garage studio in 2016. It’s just [guitarist] Lachlan playing around on a synth for about two hours, compacted into 13 seconds. We wanted to start with something that doesn’t sound like Mansionair.”
•⊆⊇•     “This is the most aggressive version of Mansionair. We wanted an abrasive start, something that was strong, where you put it on and you're like, ‘Whoa. Okay. Here we go.’ It’s about what happens when the only person you counted on, whether it be yourself or someone else, lets you down and hangs you out to dry.”
•⊆⊇•     “I was watching Lost in Translation, and when the scene in the hotel room came on, I was like, ‘I need to write a song about this.’ Because I feel that aimless place. There’s no answers, and no control. It’s quite a universal feeling.”
•⊆⊇•     “This looks at a relationship that’s breaking down. It was really loosely based on that scene in Garden State where Zach Braff and Natalie Portman are sitting in the pool. It’s about the brighter moments of a relationship that you don’t think are that important when you’re going through them, but without them, the relationship loses meaning and connection.”
•⊆⊇•     “This is the point in the album where we go and get into our heads. It’s time to put headphones on. Let’s talk about some more intimate things: This song is about the miracle of life, about being grateful for what is there and what you do have.”
“Astronaut (Something About Your Love)”
•⊆⊇•     “‘Astronaut’ came from being far from familiarity and from home — distance~wise and mentally. What we wanted to show was the power of love. When it’s right and strong and indestructible, it doesn’t matter how far you are.”
“Violet City”
•⊆⊇•     “The sample is actually played by a Mongolian throat singer called Batzorig Vaanchig. He still lives on a mountain in Mongolia; we had to track him down. It’s this strange, foreign sample that we tried to shape around a modern pop song.”
“We Could Leave”
•⊆⊇•     “This is definitely the lighter, more playful side of the record. It’s a story about admiring someone from the other side of the room and imagining what would happen if you went up to talk to them. It’s about social anxiety and that fear of, ‘Should I put myself out there? Should I go talk to this person? What will they say? And what if they’re not interested?’”
•⊆⊇•     “This was one of the hardest songs to get right, but it really encapsulates what Shadowboxer is about. It’s all about turning away from your shadows, to stop running from them. But it’s also about the moment before that decision — trying to escape the shadows. They’re haunting me so much.”
“Waiting Room”
•⊆⊇•     “This is one of the most vulnerable tracks on the record for me. You can focus so much on all the things that are going wrong and aren’t too great in your life. This song is about the importance of the people around you and looking to the things that do really matter, that you’re grateful for.”
•⊆⊇•     “The first line was a comment that I made while out with friends, about trying to escape my feelings today and deal with them tomorrow. It’s one of the older songs on the record, and I relate to it in a different way now. It’s a nice reminder that you can actually learn lessons over the course of your life.”
•⊆⊇•     “This is very much the soundtrack of our time in the mountains. The sound of the birds was actually a field recording just outside the cabin where we were staying. Lachlan wrote it as a lullaby for his one~year~old niece. It’s quite a personal song. Sometimes it’s nice to put little tracks in for yourself.”
•⊆⊇•     “The feeling and sound of this song said way more than words ever could. It reminded me so much of a time in my life where I’d be traveling across the Harbour Bridge after nights out — that feeling of being so free from responsibility, just enjoying the moment in the back seat of a taxi. It’s all about that carelessness, staying out late and just enjoying those moments.”
“Best Behaviour”
•⊆⊇•     “A lot of this record is about social anxiety, and this track really sums up what I grappled with in my early twenties. It’s a reminder to not try and fit in all the time, because then we become these banal, boring people. It came from a text message where I said, ‘I’ll be on my best behavior.’ But being on your best behavior can be a bad, unhealthy thing.”
“I Won’t Take No for an Answer”
•⊆⊇•     “I think we can find ourselves achieving the things we set out for when we refuse to accept defeat. It doesn’t come without taking chances and taking risks. We give up on ourselves and each other too often, and I wanted this little poem to explore that.”
•⊆⊇•     “The minute we wrote it, we all wanted it to end the album. It’s about accepting that you would die for someone that you’re so in love with. It’s the exploration of the lengths we go to to prove our love. When you’re so in love with someone, even the idea of death isn’t intimidating. To me, the song puts a hopeful spin on what Shadowboxer talks about and how I want it to be perceived. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. There’s always a way.”
By Li Sa Choo / 01 MARCH 2019, 16:45 GMT / Score: 8
•    It’s hard to believe that Shadowboxer is only Mansionair’s first album. The Sydney~based trio have already received a Grammy nod, having on ODESZA’s nominated “Line of Sight”, they’ve toured with some of music’s brightest names (Florence & the Machine, Chvrches), and received viral hit status with much earlier release “Hold Me Down”. Now the group are keen to prove why they made us wait 4 years from their first EP to their debut record.
•    Let’s get this straight: Shadowboxer is a monster of a record, it took Mansionair three years to write and produce in its entirety. It is dark, moody, danceable, uplifting, and a whole lot of confusing antitheses crammed into 16 tracks. And it’s a perfect showcase for why the group deserves a place in our playlists.
•    It would be impossible to pinpoint who inspired Shadowboxer, musically — it’s crammed with Flume~esque riffs, James Blake~style electronic fragments, and the silky production skills of fellow Australian trio Seekae. “I Won’t Take No for an Answer” is deliciously minimalistic, reminiscent of Imogen Heap in her vocoder “Hide and Seek” days. It’s a heady and candescent track, and an excellent platform for showcasing band vocalist Jack Froggatt’s unique, sorrowful croon.
•    Genre~bending “Astronaut (Something About Your Love)” veers on the brink of a dance electronic number, it’s tracks like this that showcase the group’s production abilities — niggling earworms crawl into the gaps between lyrics and texturize verses. It feels wide and hollow, the expanse of space shackled into a 3 minute 25 second song.
•    At its weakest, the record teeters on the brink of monotony. Nine songs in, and it’s beginning to lose that initial momentum, but then unexpectedly we get reeled back in with star of a track “Sierra”. It shows us that Mansionair are capable of much more than the indie~electronic category they’ve been prematurely shafted into, also, they aren’t afraid to prune back the vocals for a much craved instrumental interlude.
•    What sets this record apart from other ‘alternative electronic pop’ releases at the moment, is that yes, it is excellently produced, it’s catchy and it’s pretty bloody cool, but above all, it is moving. Mansionair haven’t just written 16 tracks to satisfy a bunch of teenagers going through their ‘indie emo’ phase, they’ve written a work that would make anyone feel something. With heartbreakingly relatable lyrics like “Easier”’s ‘I’m stuck here in my skin’, they prove that they’re a force to be reckoned with, and a band for the people.