Album Review: MisterWives, ‘Our Own House’

Written by Erin Mathis

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If you’re a fan of indie music, then you’ve heard of Misterwives. Named by MTV as an artist to watch, the New York indie pop band is finally gaining much deserved attention, with performances on Late Night With Seth Myers, and even Good Morning America. Now, after two EPs, they’ve finally released their first full length album, titled Our Own House. The name of the album stems from the band’s family-like closeness, and their ability to invite others into their ever so musical “house.” Also, lead singer Mandy Lee has said, that she wrote most of the album while in a treehouse, which is exactly what you will see on the album’s cover – a treehouse with colorful animals escaping from its windows, most likely indicative of the band members’ colorful and diverse personalities.

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So let’s jump into the album itself. The first song shares its name with the album: “Our Own House”, and starts the album off on a high note. It begins with gentle piano chords, but quickly builds up to an amazing dance anthem with a bit of a seventies funk influence. She sings proudly about building a house that would never fall apart, which speaks for the true cohesion that is found on this album. Another song that shares a similar vibe is the second track, “Not Your Way.” Its fun trumpets surprise the listener by suddenly slowing down at the tail end of the bridge before speeding back up to its regular tempo. The song’s lyrics are wonderfully written with a feminist perspective, and inspire the listener to break traditions and take control of one’s own life. “Hurricane” is equally as inspiring: “We’ll dance to our own beat / Won’t sing to you melody,” and is probably the “coolest” song on the album. It features a harder-sounding guitar and an overall rebellious attitude.

Next up are the crowd-favorites: “Vagabond” and “Reflections”. In July of 2014, the band gained world-wide exposure when “Vagabond” was made the theme song of MTV’s Finding Carter. Not only are the lyrics beautiful, as they tell a story about a wandering soul, but Mandy’s breathtaking vocals remind the listener of a vintage jazz singer. “Reflections” on the other hand is fast-paced and dancey, with a bit of the previously mentioned funk. Mandy sings: “Put me on the shelf; discipline myself /
To let the sparks die out,” conveying the complex emotion of loving someone you know you should probably stay far away from. It’s fantastic to see that their music video now has over three million views on YouTube. However, some fans may be disappointed to find that though the video is well made and entertaining, depicting a group of troublemaking prep-school kids, it feels off topic, without even a mention of romance.

Speaking of romance, this album features some love songs. “Oceans” is relaxed and slow, pulsing like waves do, and is irresistibly adorable. “Imagination Infatuation” is equally so, with lyrics: “Lovin’s is easy to keep / when you’re the reason that I fall asleep.” These fresh, cute songs are no doubt about to be eaten up by tween girls across the world.

Next, you can’t have love without a bit of heartache. “Best I Can Do” discusses a one sided relationship, and despite its painful message, is uptempo with a ska-like sound. Meanwhile, “Coffins” is slow and beautifully haunting, with the topic being a dying relationship. The music is low key in this song, with steady piano chords, light tambourine, and even soft violins featured in the bridge. Instead, the focus is all on the vocals, as Mandy shows off her incredible range.

The last track, “Queens”, is all about staying true to yourself and making it on your own. It captures the uplifting, inspiring tone of the album, which as a whole, is both thematically and sonically cohesive. This fresh set of songs is ready for spring time, just as Misterwives is ready for their rise to fame. They’ve built a sturdy house, and threw one hell of a party in it.

Rating: 10/10

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