10 Songs, 32 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Chris Mansfield is a seriously tattooed, Berklee-educated musician with a rather surprising sound, considering his pedigree and countenance: think of Matt Pond PA or Elliott Smith and you’ve got Fences nailed (pardon the pun). This debut, co-produced by Sara Quin of Tegan & Sara (Quin also contributes vocals), is comprised of delicate, lovelorn folk-pop tunes that glimmer with acoustic guitars, and sigh with resignation and faint traces of hope. Electric guitars — scattered in short bursts — add a little edge, and weave rich textures around a few heart-achingly somber tunes, like the fragile “From Roses” and “Fires."  “Boys Around Here” and “Girls With Accents” have perfect, memorable pop constructs, though the expletive-laden chorus of “Girls” will likely prevent it from getting the endless play it deserves. “The Same Tattoos” could be branded early Cure-flavored folk, and “My Girl the Horse” sounds like a stripped-down Sea Wolf, a sweetly swaying tune with enough chorus-verse-chorus action that it settles into your cerebral mass with ease. Fences is a sparkling high point in the 2010 folk-pop milieu.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Chris Mansfield is a seriously tattooed, Berklee-educated musician with a rather surprising sound, considering his pedigree and countenance: think of Matt Pond PA or Elliott Smith and you’ve got Fences nailed (pardon the pun). This debut, co-produced by Sara Quin of Tegan & Sara (Quin also contributes vocals), is comprised of delicate, lovelorn folk-pop tunes that glimmer with acoustic guitars, and sigh with resignation and faint traces of hope. Electric guitars — scattered in short bursts — add a little edge, and weave rich textures around a few heart-achingly somber tunes, like the fragile “From Roses” and “Fires."  “Boys Around Here” and “Girls With Accents” have perfect, memorable pop constructs, though the expletive-laden chorus of “Girls” will likely prevent it from getting the endless play it deserves. “The Same Tattoos” could be branded early Cure-flavored folk, and “My Girl the Horse” sounds like a stripped-down Sea Wolf, a sweetly swaying tune with enough chorus-verse-chorus action that it settles into your cerebral mass with ease. Fences is a sparkling high point in the 2010 folk-pop milieu.

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