Round and Round and Round
Those of you who long ago gave up on the idea of Bjork ever coming back down to Earth (assuming she was ever there to begin with) are in luck. Meet Cameron Mesirow, a.k.a. Glasser. A year after making a splash on the taste-making blogs with her self-produced GarageBand demos of tribal electro-pop, she arrives with a little extra help courtesy of Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid, and a lot more songs via her enchanting debut album Ring.
As its title implies, Ring was conceived as a cyclical listen, one where you could theoretically start with any track on the record and listen all of the way through, ending back where you started. In fact, this is how Mesirow first introduced it to the world, via an online stream where the album would start at random and play through from whatever song was blindly selected. This method of listening works in the album’s favor, helping the listener discover new layers and highlights with each listen depending on what order the songs fall into.
And make no mistake, the highlights are plenty. Though more than a few songs here already appeared in alternate forms prior to release (the ominous “Apply,” the waltzing “Glad” i.e.), they benefit greatly from the added studio sheen. Rivers and Kid have sharpened their teeth on recent albums by Fever Ray and Blonde Redhead, and know their way around material like this well. They’re a perfect match for Glasser, whose aforementioned material recalls no one greater than a less foreboding version of Fever Ray.
That’s not to say her new songs don’t pack the same kind of punch. The icy hot “Mirrorage” is proof of that. The album’s centerpiece no matter where it falls in the sequence, its insistent pulse, endlessly blooming electronics and the breathtaking mid song transition of Mesirow’s vocals into robotic menace thrill and chill more with every subsequent listen. Close behind it are the positively Homogenic “Home,” complete with Asian strings, and “Treasury of We” which sounds like a post-rain rave in the middle of the jungle.
Ace production or not, these songs, and the rest of Ring with them, would remain potent and memorable even in their barest, sparest form. Glasser is a confident songwriter and even more commanding vocalist. Like Bjork and Karin Dreijer-Andersson before her, she takes the otherworldly and makes it accessible, perhaps even more so. It took the second album for each of her sonic ancestors to really challenge listeners. For now, we’ll just have to settle for spellbound and satisfied.