Savage Mansion – Revision Ballads
The debut record from Craig Angus under the Savage Mansion name covers an impressive amount of ground, from smart ass power pop to grubby, loud and loose rock'n'roll
Revision Ballads is the debut record from Savage Mansion, aka Perth-raised singer and guitarist Craig Angus and friends, released on Eigg-based Lost Map Records. Coming on the back of a series of well-received singles, its 12 tracks cover an impressive amount of ground, from smart ass power pop to grubby, loud and loose rock'n'roll.
Opener Bring Down the City Hall sounds like Pavement blinking in the sunlight as a jangly sunbeam of guitar twists its way around Angus’ winding lyrics, while Infinite Factory is a fuzzy alt-rock gem designed to be blasted from rattling speakers.
Angus has described the single Do You Say Hello to Your Neighbours? as being about how "people know each other less in suburban neighbourhoods than they used to" and this is a record that’s all about music as a communal activity, roping in your friends for a sing-song. The opening stretch of Revision Ballads in particular is hugely impressive in this regard, with a surfeit of memorable melodies that sound readymade for a pub full of people to leap around to.
The second half of the record is not quite as tight. Three and a Half Thousand Cheetahs (Big Cats) sounds like it was probably more fun in the studio, while Situation Comedy returns to channelling the brainy but stoned ramblings of Stephen Malkmus but never really lands a tune.
Nevertheless there are still some strong moments, including excellent recent single Elwood and closing track Older and Wiser, which seems to get faster and faster, tight solos and yelped vocals accelerating off into the distance until its collapse. School's out, Savage Mansion have arrived.
Listen to: Infinite Factory, Nudist Beach