Like a lot of people, Mansions leader Chris Browder spent the pandemic looking back on his life and career, and that included recording the album Old Best Friends, which features 12 new solo acoustic recordings of songs from throughout Mansions' 14-year-long career. It marks a full-circle moment, as Mansions originally started back in 2007 as Chris' acoustic solo project. The album was self-recorded and mixed at Chris' home, and it features Mansions bassist Robin Dove on backing vocals.

"I think it was pretty common during the peak of the pandemic for people to spend time looking backwards," Chris says. "Personally I took a bunch of time to catalog every show we've ever played, collected old photos and show flyers, and listened a bunch to our old records. The consistently surprising aspect of that sort of thing is how the old stuff feels impossibly ancient and totally contemporary at the same time. Like it simultaneously feels like I was an entirely different person when I wrote those songs, and like I wrote them half an hour ago. So the idea of working on new versions felt like a way to somehow bridge the gap, finding the pieces that still resonate with me and arranging & performing them like I actually did write them today. It was weird to find how much of it still resonated, how many of my struggles and beefs 10 years ago still exist now, even if in a totally different form. In a way that's sort of depressing, but I also found it kinda freeing. Like life is this process that keeps going and going, not some task list of things and events that you overcome and put behind you. It felt good to dust off the cobwebs and treat these songs in the same way: as an ongoing, living, breathing thing that can continue to exist and evolve over time."

"When we hit the 10-year anniversary of Dig Up The Dead, it got me thinking about everything we've done over our history," he added. "I went back and listened to all of our records. I was surprised to find that even the stuff that feels old enough to have been a different person still resonates with me. It felt like reinterpreting all these old songs would be a meaningful way to honor that history, while also making it into something new that I can believe in all these years later."

Artists re-recording their older material for a new album isn't always the most exciting thing to listen to, but Old Best Friends is a fresh, powerful album, whether you're familiar with the original versions of these songs or not. It comes out Friday (10/29) via Bad Timing Records (pre-order), but we're premiering a full stream right now. Listen via YouTube playlist below.

As mentioned, Mansions are also doing a belated 10th anniversary show for DiG Up The Dead on March 11 at Knitting Factory Brooklyn (tickets).


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