If this had been three years ago my favourite album of the year would have been Dream Boys’s self-titled debut. But today I’d rather recommend Sapphire Mansions if you’re into dream-pop. Since Golden Triangle broke up and touring with Zarjaz, Jay Hough has been honing his own songwriting and finding his voice with Matt, Josh and Serge (Beachniks/German Measles) as Sappire Mansions. You may remember me writing about their first tape Whispered In Sparks from 2012, and with their new mini-album Over America they’ve delivered on all the points in which they were lacking. Still lo-fi, but lovingly recorded at Marlborough Farms, these songs breathe the same confidence and flair as Felt circa Splendour of Fear. The vocals actually contain so much melody on tracks like “Too Shiny” they could have been mixed right to the front. All six songs earn the width of their grooves on this 12″, “This Swirling Image” alone has enough hooks and ingredients to fill a whole EP. The cover looks great, and Hough was nice enough to credit me on the insert (next to my friends Gary Olson and Emily Curtin) for design input, although I’ve not actually submitted any work. Here’s what my cover concept looked like. The record is out on Hough’s own label It’s Raining Records, and you can stream or pick one up here. The tape or cd version comes with two unique bonus tracks.