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Glasser - Ring

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Artist: Glasser

Album: Ring

Label: True Panther

Review date: Sep. 28, 2010

One of the most impressive singles of the past year was the “Apply” 12” that served as the introduction to Cameron Mesirow, a.k.a. Glasser. The Los Angeles artist has made short work of following it up with a full-length for True Panther Sounds, and this is one that’s already been making the rounds as one of the most quietly anticipated records of the year. Rightly so, too: Ring is an impressive full-length both vocally and musically, confirming the belief of quickly accrued supporters and hopefully opening the ears to a mass of new fans.

There is little time wasted in this record’s nine songs, and that Mesirow packs so many wonderful sounds into it without really complicating the chord progressions or basic melodies is perhaps the truest testament to her talent. “Apply” is once again the first song and will provide a similar introduction to people who didn’t hear that EP. The re-recorded version here sounds less homespun, slightly beefier thanks to added handclaps, but the song hinges on an alluring chorus and the particularly deafening note Mesirow hits about a minute and a half in. These remain thankfully unchanged, and it accurately portends things to come.

For a lot of artists, “Apply” would have been hard enough to follow, but that’s not so important with this record for reasons the Los Angeles Times has already pointed out: You can start this anywhere and it wouldn’t really matter. “Clamour” ends the album with a quiet reprise of the same beat in “Apply,” but there aren’t any obvious highlights or weaknesses, interludes or blatant three-minute pop jingles, positive vibes or negative ones. “Glad” is the other returnee from the 12” and is about as close to a diversion from the aesthetic — exotically folky without much reverb. Beyond that, Mesirow is consistent in her self-backed choruses. Her vocals are often compared to Kate Bush, but Mesirow’s are slightly higher in pitch, which can make her both gentler and more aggressive depending on the moment.

The music, too, is relentlessly creative. This is due in large part to Mesirow’s obvious talent at creating melodies, but credit must also go to Foreign Born’s Ariel Rechtshaid and rising producers Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid, associates of Fever Ray and lately of Blonde Redhead’s Penny Sparkle. The different electronic tricks they help with here are impressive. If the songs are fairly straightforward in structure, the careful addition and subtraction of sounds within them is not. From the vintage Italo synths of “T” to the tropical sounds of “Treasury of We” (suggesting Glasser’s labelmate Tanlines has had an influence) to indications of Pantha du Prince’s bell obsession on “Home” and “Mirrorage,” the music complements without unnecessarily diverting attention from Mesirow’s vocals.

Rings isn’t just the title of this record. It is a way of making beats, and of building choruses, and of constructing songs, and of remembering the fragments of dreams for these lyrics. It is a way of thinking, one Glasser has followed to a beautifully self-assured debut album that won’t take long to start looping in your own subconscious.

By Patrick Masterson

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