Seattle based, indie rock band Fences just released a deluxe version of their third album “Failure Sculptures” on March 5th via ENCI Records, which features two bonus tracks. Singer, songwriter, and musician Christopher Mansfield of Fences is most known for his collaborations with the band Tegan and Sara, who produced his 2010 self-titled debut album, and Macklemore, who he’s teamed up with on various tracks. “Failure Sculptures” is his first new LP since 2015’s “Lesser Oceans”. Mansfield will also be releasing a brand new EP in the spring.
The two new tracks on his deluxe album are acoustic versions of “A Mission” and “God Music”. When Mansfield spoke of these tracks he stated,
“Almost the instant you track something in permanence you start to play it differently. You know how stories get embellished, religious texts have a bit of wiggle room or the size of fish your stepdad caught keeps growing? It’s like that. A song is really just a short story. Romance aside, I just wanted y’all to hear me play ‘em as is and in that room in that moment. One take with some light overdubs.”A really short story indeed. This is one of those albums where each song tells you a little more of the life of the singer. I didn’t know about Mansfield before this, but after listening to his album I feel like I know a lot about him and his past. The song “Same Blues” on the album describes a burden that he may keep on his heart, either a failed marriage or as I found out later in another track, a divorce. The burden however is said to be something he doesn’t mind having. “Brass Band” tells of someone who perhaps feels like he’s dying or like his fate is already established and that he feels God might not save him from it. He doesn’t think he has a purpose anymore. “The Park”, is where I picked up on Mansfield’s divorce and how his former wife was pregnant with his child after, but Mansfield couldn’t get custody of the child after she was born. And “War Kid” elaborates on the divorce and how it was a miserable experience for both him and his wife, while “God Music” focuses on how the singer is perhaps drinking himself to death because he’s just so angry or depressed from the situation. All of the songs give us an outline of a person’s life and emotions, not holding back on the gritty truth and ugliness this world has to offer. We all go through struggles and tough situations at one point or another. Some songs that mention God or the experience of a believer don’t get this gritty and instead stick to the positive details of God’s love and how there is always hope in the tough seasons of life. Mansfield’s songs basically tell it how it is and are probably more reliable in that way. So be sure to check “Failure Sculptures” out if you haven’t already.
“We were friends before we made any music together,” we have a lot of things in common – our vices and our demons and our art, the things that we’re good at and our shortcomings.”– Macklemore
“The artistic alter ego for Seattle-based musician and songwriter Christopher Mansfield, Fences’ folk music is heartrending and raw”– Atwood Magazine
Author: Enrico Versace