Cameron Mesirow has found the girl pop confidence, but what makes the girl new album shine is not accessibility, but her own willingness to take unexpected sidesteps, says Daniel Jones.
Every time a musician moves from a previously founded, multi-genre sound into more dance-friendly territory, they run the risk of alienating their old audience for the sake of a new one. Cameron Mesirow’s 2010 LP Ring was her first full-length under the name Glasser, and it built on all of the beauty and left-field pop guarantee that her first single “Apply” showed. Melding tribal percussion with slow, introspective electronics, Ring was a glimpse straight into Mesirow’s dreams. On her sophomore energy Interiors , she’s drawn those inner visions out, breathed vibrant life into brand new dreams… but the mood is transformed. The initial impression is that Mesirow offers opened up, allowing the listener a closer glimpse at a life three years away from the ominous, Lynchian “Mirrorage” and the spaced-out and claustrophobic epic ”Tremel”. This is pure, polished synthpop, strutting and swaying straight to an art-damaged dancefloor near you—albeit in a slightly crooked way. Mesirow has discovered her confidence and allowed several inner light to show, and the clarity of it is what makes this album shine.
That shine is not built upon the album’s more clear pop influence and more conventional construction, but rather Mesirow’s willingness to take unexpected sidesteps. The lash of the mix cracks that make up the spine of opener “Shape”, plucked and lightly mangled by sine wave manipulation. The pierce of “Design”‘s expressive stabs, interspersed with slashes of gasps. “Landscape”‘s mournful and evocative sorrow that twists Mesirow’s voice away from reality before slipping into some thing more minimal. There’s more than a contact of the artificial to the proceedings; architecture-as-human-condition, after all, is the album’s theme. But that artificiality counterpoints the more conventional musical elements in a way that keeps things surprising and fresh, such as upon “New Years” where clockwork wild birds beat wings against jazzy woodwinds, peeking from behind swiftly-stacked expressive layers before exploding into the atmosphere.
Where the album missteps is in its willingness to accept this minimalist artificiality a little too one-sidedly. While Ring wrapped voice around percussion inside a symbiosis of sound, here a lot of the beauty is derived less from a key component textures. Mesirow’s voice is clearly the main attraction, and appropriately there is nothing too complex happening in the background to distract from the girl. This works to fine effect within moments like the joyous dance paths “Exposure” and “Keame Theme”, the propulsive beats and squelchy drum pads sliding slickly atop agonizing synthlines and ecstatic choruses, or even on “Forge”, where skittery metallic rhythms exist merely as metronomic balancing points. But that simpleness is also Interiors’ flaw. Imagine a human skeleton—it is the Halloween season, after all—with the most flawless bone structure imaginable. It’s exposed, perfect, as open up as it can be; yet the marrow of the bone has dried up, the muscle and flesh which support it gone. The function and shape are still there, but not the form that made it so desirable in the first place. In its stripped-back and lipless simplicity, Interiors still has the teeth, but lacks both the kiss and the bite Glasser once had.
I’ve been listening to this album more than I might have otherwise to determine exactly what it is I feel about this because, despite the above, I truly appreciate listening to it. As previously mentioned, there’s plenty of pop magic hiding in the songs themselves, particularly when Mesirow hits the choruses and allows both voice and instrumental to flex together fully rather than simply standing closely besides each other. It is impossible to ignore the commanding power of her vocals as they leap from fragile balsam to reinforced steel in an instant. I wish, nevertheless , that she had maintained the girl impressively growing lyrical technique without having paring back the structure’s skin. Had she done, so the superb album—as well as the human emotions that, despite Band ‘s more introverted shade, felt more apparent there—lurking under Interiors’ crisply-produced carapace would be allowed to show fully. Instead, what we have is a beautifully rigid and slightly cold electronic appear that will enrapture the ears whilst playing, but may not linger long in the soul. ~
Interiors is out now on True Panther.