Why Fences’ Is Worth A Second Chance
Fences ::: photo by Abbey Simmons
You probably already have an opinion on Fences. It seems like everyone does. Few artists in Seattle are more polarizing than Fences and the man behind the band and tattoos: Chris Mansfield. He has many vocal lovers and haters: just read any post on any blog about him. He’s an artist who engenders very little in-between, you either love him or you hate him.
Mansfield’s reputation precedes him before a single word is said, his life spelled out in colorful tattoos. He is an easy book to judge by its cover – another tattooed sad bastard singer in skinny jeans. But if you left it at that, you’d be selling Mansfield short. I know. I did it myself.
I’d seen Fences a handful of times before this summer and frankly, I hadn’t been impressed. After listening to his debut self-titled LP and seeing three solid festival sets from Fences this summer, I’ve begun to wonder if I had ever allowed myself to be. Because Fences is more than his tattoos, more than a sell-able back-story and look and more than the impossible comparisons to legends like Elliott Smith. When it comes to first impressions that’s Sisyphean ground to make up, and yet Fences has done so on the strength of his self-titled debut, due out next Tuesday.
Clocking in just over 30 minutes, the long-awaited debut establishes it was worth the wait with the first strums of “Girls With Accents,” whose chorus of “I’m fucking up, I’m fucking up everything” is destined to become a teenage anthem. But this album isn’t just for moody teenagers. Fences sings sad songs filled with snide sweetness, self-deprecation and a confessional honesty that hits home to anyone whose been brave enough to admit they fucked up and flawed enough to do the same thing all over again. Though they may be Mansfield’s songs, they sound like pages out of all of our diaries.
Fences may not be the next Elliott Smith, but fuck, who is? What Chris Mansfield is, is a promising songwriter and a performer who is better, more focused and more engaged with his audience every time I see him take the stage. He’s an artist worth giving a second chance. I’m certainly glad I did.
We have a pair of tickets to give away to see Fences CD Release Show tomorrow night at The Crocodile. Drop your name in the comments or hop on Twitter and retweet the following to enter to win: “Forever Bummed with @FFEENNCCEESS at The Crocodile this Thursday thanks to @soundonthesound www.sadcastle.com” We’ll pick a winner tomorrow morning at 9:30 am.