Mansionair’s debut album ‘Shadowboxer’ is out, providing fans with a smooth, dark soundtrack straight from the deeper confines of front man Jack Froggatt’s lyrical provisions. The title itself reveals the sensitive topics addressing depression and anxiety, as remarked by the group in a statement; “Shadowboxer is about acknowledging that we are often our own opponent, and learning to accept our inner shadows – the ones we try so hard to ignore. It’s a record about deciding to lift our gaze from the darkness and acknowledge the light that shapes us.”
It is truly exciting to see more and more artists find the ability to talk so openly about mental health, constructing an important medium between the musician and the audience to raise an awareness that allows the discussion of something that desperately needs more exposure.
While not explicitly genius, the three-piece electronic group’s first LP provides an optimal beginning for what looks to be a promising stint on the current scene of Australian pop. While not possessing the traits of a so-called ‘timeless classic,’ ’Shadowboxer’ manages to satisfy the requiem of a somewhat successful electronic album. That is, to maintain a recurring theme, sound and feel over a similar beat throughout the album’s duration.
However, while the LP shows no obvious flaw, the distinct lack of risk within the entire soundtrack may cause the piece to age prematurely. This stands in stark contrast to that of Chet Faker’s 2014 LP ‘Built on Glass’, which, while sharing a similar emotion and genre to ‘Shadowboxer’, manages to graduate to a level of personification unseen by Mansionair. Moreover, the constant experimentation and trialling heard in ‘Built on Glass’ is seemingly devoid in the trio’s debut, with the possible exception of small cameos in ‘Technicolour’, ‘Waiting Room’ and a few others. Although both albums are the respective artists’ first full-length album, it is hard to judge one by the standards of Chet Faker (now known as Nick Murphy), who played his third ever show in Las Vegas following a meteoric rise.
Mansionair have arrived on the scene at a very exciting time, where the once cemented notions of genre have become fluid and passive, allowing for a greater expression if musical ability than what was previously allowed. ‘Shadowboxer’ sets a strong foundation for a sound that will continue to turn more heads in the future, when the trio have formed more of a presence, allowing them to branch out to bigger and better things. This is perhaps why ‘Shadowboxer’ can come off as somewhat generic. There are hints of what’s to come, with ‘Easier,’ ‘Technicolour’ and ‘Astronaut’ being notable inroads to a largely successful future, but for Mansionair to show their true worth and presence in current and future music scenes, it is imperative that they deviate from their dangerously common sound to something new, exciting and lesser heard.
The current music landscape is forever dynamic, and failure to keep up with it runs the risk of being forgotten. If Mansionair manage to create a new sound while maintaining their vitally important message, do not be surprised of their future albums skyrocket to the status of a ‘timeless classic’ that is so avidly sought. 3/5