Spiritual Mansions: Give Us Your Hearts


Spiritual Mansions
Give Us Your Hearts
Afternoon Records

There's a hilarious moment on "Danny B. Cool," a jaunty little piano-led number off Spiritual Mansions' debut release, Give Us Your Hearts, where singer-songwriter Ryan Harris sings "Danny be sweet/It would be neat/If you would change you mind/Women do it all the time." The band drops out and sings the last line in unison. This is some sappy stuff, and the aforementioned example sums up Harris's lovelorn inclinations in a single line. Besides "Danny," which is a goofy (check the spelled-out hook) plea for the titular nonfictional (male) character to give up school and join the band, Give Us Your Hearts is totally broad-obsessed.

"What do you know about love?" Harris asks in the opening line of the album, and he spends the rest of the EP detailing Eros's darker aspects. "No Matter" flickers like a bubble-gummy lost Television b-side, with yearning oohs and post-punk falsetto. But this isn't post-punk, psychedelia, or pop—it's an appreciative homage of the three. The Television influence is the most glaring, but you can also hear the Byrds ("What Did I Tell You") and the Beach Boys ("Danny B. Cool"). Harris's lyrical imagery works best when he keeps it urban and specific, instead of stretching for poetic metaphors, as he does on the Dylanesque "Don't Blame Me." "Motorcycle Mona," a short little Tom Waits-y number about meeting a biker chick, is the only song where Harris escapes ending up with a broken heart. Instead, it's all platitudes for this "poet priestess with grease in her hair." Maybe it's because she does the one thing Harris's other women never did: "She'll tell you how she really feels," he moans.