Release Date: Sep 28, 2010
Record label: True Panther Sounds
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Dream Pop
It’s a shame ‘witch house’ is already taken, because, as a handle that suggests a potent, enchanting fusion of seductive gothic atmosphere with digital chill, it’d be better suited to the work of LA’s [b]Cameron Mesirow[/b] than the oppressive drag of Salem et al. The likes of the high-priestess menaceof [b]‘Apply’[/b], in which an lustrously aloof Mesirow admonishes, [i]“If the walls were too thin/You would break right in”[/i], and the gently lurching 21st century spiritual of [b]‘Glad’[/b], are, like fellow dark ladies [a]Warpaint[/a] and [a]Effi Briest[/a], informed by bleak post-punk moods and tribal echoes. Here, though, they’re cleansed in a crisp, modern starkness that’s closer to [a]Telepathe[/a], [a]Zola Jesus[/a] or [a]Fever Ray[/a].
Cameron Mesirow is an intelligent musician. Yes, the music she makes under the name Glasser is exquisitely crafted, densely layered, and executed with the kind of style and grace many musicians lack. But it’s not just Mesirow’s talent that informs listeners of her apt aural ability. Glasser’s debut, Ring, is filled with the kind of indie-pop pedigree that makes music PR people froth at the mouth.
Remember that eMusic Selected + Collected comp from back in early 2009? Basically a rundown of hot new acts at the time, turns out the thing was pretty farsighted-- more than a couple of the bands it featured (Girls, Salem) went on to find big audiences. It was also the first time many of us heard Cameron Mesirow aka Glasser, whose track "Apply" was one of the disc's standouts. Back then Glasser was a solo project-- just Mesirow singing over GarageBand beats-- but the song had a great mix of electronic drag and skyward pop, and showcased Mesirow's impressive vocal range.
It isn't always a compliment to call something watery, but in the case of Glasser's full-length debut Ring, it's a glowing one. Virtually every aspect of Cameron Mesirow's music evokes H2O, from her clear, smooth vocals, to beats that thump and wobble like striking an overflowing bucket, to the way each song flows into the next. Thanks to the help of co-producers Ariel Rechtshaid and Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid, Ring is much fuller and more polished than the GarageBand demos that made up Glasser's singles and EPs.
Whoever wrote the press release for Glasser’s Ring must have a good sense of humor; the Cali singer-songwriter’s debut album is compared to both Joni Mitchell’s Blue and R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet. But inexplicable links aside, the point is well taken: Ring is more a cohesive, narrative song cycle than a simple collection of disparate pop songs.
As we continually rush to name the Next Best Thing (often more to gain attention for the tastemaker than the artist tapped), the world is opening up to new, distinct acts. It's getting easier, in some ways, to get noticed. If you step out on your own musical ledge, someone is bound to champion you, and it'll snowball from there. To a point.
Review Summary: Totally chiastic. In fear the album title would sit awkwardly in misunderstanding, True Panther’s streaming of Ring explained that the listening experience meant to be enjoyed with Glasser's debut is supposed to be structured like “the chiastic (or, Ring) structure used in ancient literature”. Though I suppose that's a bit of a task considering the formatting restrictions of releasing an album with a tracklisting, shuffle is the magic button for those of you excited by a non-linear listening experience.
Ring sounds like the kind of album that could only be recorded in the 21st century. Originally penned in the familiar woman-and-GarageBand configuration, Cameron Mesirow's debut LP has been given a sonic boost by producers Van Rivers and the Subliminal Kid but remains a DIY weirdo-pop solo effort. [rssbreak] Aside from a few marimba, saxophone and glockenspiel flourishes, the nine tracks are built around spare, repetitive programmed beats, punctuating synth lines and the most impressive instrument in Mesirow's arsenal: her voice.
“Apply”, the song that first brought attention to Glasser, is still the best song on the group’s debut album, Ring. The dark, intense percussion sets an ominous tone that only increases as it rocks between the two notes the synth scarily pounds. Cameron Mesirow’s vocals move back and forth, from foreboding to soaring, as the synth ripples out in the chorus.
From the thumping tribal drumbeats of opener ‘Apply’ to the enraptured twinkling of wind-chimes that meander their way through the record’s entirety, the debut LP from L.A’s one-woman orchestra, Cameron Mesirow, presents a sonic antithesis to the sprawl of Californian concrete in which it was recorded. It's an album one can imagine being discovered in an enchanted forest alongside some dusty old Joni Mitchell or Joanna Newsom recordings. Yet to judge Mesirow’s debut as Glasser purely by its beguiling mix of exotic instrumentation and dreamlike tenor would be a mistake.
I don’t know if my fellow TMTers chuckled or just ignored me when I inquired if we could include Justin Bieber’s “U Smile” slowed down 800% in our year-end ballots. Of course, there’re all the usual questions about authordom and ownership and blah blah blah that really ought to be getting more complicated by now. But my interest is in how, even with the crappiest Disney-pop, listeners across the board will blithely swallow some of the most staggeringly compressed lushness that pop music has ever known.
Cameron Mesirow extends her invitation thusly: "If the walls were too thin, you would break right in." The hypnotic beat of "Apply" lures us into the first room of the Brooklyn singer's intimate debut LP, and we spend the rest of Ring in one of her design. While there's a certain loneliness to these electro ballads, she's quite inventive with her vocals, using them as interior design, coloring each room a different shade. "Home," with its delirious xylophone accompaniment, adds to the labyrinthine feel, as does Euro-synth lament "T" and its symphonic chorus of Mesirows.
A wide-eyed, tribal, multi-textured menagerie of a record. Greg Cochrane 2010 There really are some weird women out there right now. If it’s not Natasha Khan (aka Bat For Lashes) writing an entire album about her blonde alter-ego inspired by David Lynch’s fascination with transvestites, it’s Fever Ray’s Karin Dreijer Andersson dressing her band like a gang of melted Mrs Doubtfires, and herself like a chess board.