It’s been an eventful three years since Mandy Lee went looking for an ’80s cover band to provide the soundtrack for her birthday party. Instead of entertainment, she found a career fronting the energetic and artful Pop quintet MisterWives, an NYC-based collective that combines the passionate vocal quirks of Sinéad O’Connor and Kate Bush and the effervescent swagger and stomp of The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, with a soulful touch that suggests Fitz and the Tantrums channeling their inner Amy Winehouse.
Lee was actually pursuing a solo career when she connected with drummer Etienne Bowler and bassist William Hehir, who set out to reinvent Lee’s Indie Pop compositions. Bowler brought in guitarist Marc Campbell and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Blum to complete the band. After a brief period of writing and rehearsing, MisterWives made their live debut at New York’s Canal Room in 2013. The next day, the band signed a contract with Photo Finish Records, a renowned independent NYC label.
MisterWives released their first EP, Reflections, in early 2014, creating an immediate sensation with the swelling, soaring title track and the contemplative “Coffins” and “Lullaby.” In the wake of Reflections’ release, MisterWives opened for Bleachers and Twenty One Pilots, appeared on VH1’s Big Morning Buzz and Jimmy Kimmel Live, had their track “Vagabond” tagged as the theme song for the MTV drama series Finding Carter and sold more than 100,000 downloads of the EP.
Almost exactly a year after Reflections was released and two years after the group’s Canal Room debut, MisterWives dropped their first album, Our Own House, which cracked the Top 100 of Billboard’s album chart. If you think swingy Pop can’t possibly offer musical and lyrical substance, you clearly haven’t experienced MisterWives’ multiple joys.