Mini Mansions lift off from ‘Tranquility Base…’ at Reading 2019, destination AI apocalypse

The LA supergroup with ties to QOTSA, Arctic Monkeys and The Last Shadow Puppets showcase their "Arcticality", and their own post-pop voice

If Mini Mansions – the LA semi-supergroup made up of on-stage associates of Arctic Monkeys, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Last Shadow Puppets – are trying to downplay the idea that their 2015 track ‘Vertigo’ inspired ‘Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino’, they’re going a funny way about it. To an intro tape of distinctly lunar lounge atmospherics, Michael Shuman arrives onstage in a neon blue suit and sex lizard haircut that suggests he swapped the sounds of ‘Vertigo’ for a trolley dash through Alex Turner’s wardrobe.

Over the course of their half-hour, they exude a certain, shall we say, Arcticality – ‘Vertigo’ itself provides the missing link between ‘Four Out Of Five’ and Berlin Bowie, ‘Works Every Time’ holds an ‘80s soft rock party in the crater of croon, and even ‘Freakout!’ has a notably Monkeys buzz and rattle, despite ostensibly sounding like ‘Suspicious Minds’ being played by an indie glam ELO.

Whether the Monkeys’ space lounge vibe has rubbed off on them or vice versa, Mini Mansions come into their own when they work up their own identity: AI Invasion Pop. ‘Death Is A Girl’, for instance, is an electro stampede that sounds, at points, as though the man vs machine wars have broken out onstage, and ‘Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)’ is the point where the machines possess the band altogether, deciding it’s their turn to have a pop at retro rock’n’roll, cyborg style. How sophisticated do they make all this sound? Everyone in the moshpit is in shades. An inevitable four stars out of five.

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