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Monday’s Suggestion (11-29-10)

In Monday's Suggestion, Music, Rich, Uncategorized on November 29, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Fences

If you’re currently in your mid to late 20s and were labeled an “emo kid” at some point in your younger days, chances are Fences, the recording alias of 27-year-old songwriter Chris Mansfield, captured your current mindset on his debut album.

Don’t know if this applies to you?  Let me provide a little more background.

Music: When you were young(er) you found solace in bands like Taking Back Sunday, Saves The Day and Thursday.  You thought the “Blue Album” was awesome, but Pinkerton was Weezer’s classic.

Books: You love Kerouac and Bukowski, Plath and Hemingway and there was a period of time where you obsessed over the idea of existentialism.

Film: With regards to film you had two dynamic duos you lived by (Wes Anderson/Jason Schwartzman and Tim Burton/Johnny Depp).  You made it your goal to find the happy medium between these two personas…and then marry Zooey Deschanel.  This is why you’re now incredibly jealous of Ben Gibbard (if you’re a girl replace Zooey Deschanel with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Ben Gibbard with whoever he’s dating).

If any of this sound familiar you’re probably going to relate to Fences.   If not there is still an aspect of your youth that could tie you in…you drove around aimlessly, often for entire nights.  You’d drink in parking lots and go to basement shows and house parties, but mostly you’d just drive around and listen to music, ending up at a diner in the waning hours of the night.

If you’re still reading this probably rings a bell to some degree, and the questions you strung yourself out on while staring out the passenger window of your friend’s 92 Volvo are the same ones you examined in your head as you stared out the subway window on your way to work this morning.  Questions like “where is my life going?” or “what did I do wrong to him/her?”.  These may be the same questions you had back then, but you definitely don’t approach them the same way.

Fences encapsulates this more mature approach.  You aren’t screaming anymore, you’re reflecting quietly.  Where Chris Carraba crafted Dashboard Confessional out of a refusal to move past his high school heartaches as he entered his late twenties, Chris Mansfield has constructed Fences out of a desperate need to get past that time in his life.

Fences self-titled debut album is full of the shoe-gazing self-reflection that so many of us have adapted as our comfort zone.  It’s the soundtrack to a late night drive or a long night at a dive bar.  In fact, I find something fitting about the fact that this album was conceived in Seattle.  Probably because it gives me the same feeling I used to get when watching the cult classic “Reality Bites”.

The bottom line is this album is as therapeutic to the listener as it likely was for Mansfield to write.  If you don’t have your life figured out yet, give it a listen.  You probably won’t figure out anything by doing so, but trust me you’ll still feel a little better afterwards.

Recommended if you like: Cassino, An Horse, Tegan & Sara

– Rich

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