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[True Panther; 2010]

By ; October 7, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

There’s something organic about Ring, the debut full-length from LA-based Glasser. Maybe it comes from the harmonic tribal chanting featured on most every track of the album. Maybe it’s the byproduct of jungle drums and Cameron Mesirow’s rich, earthy singing voice, the fullness and unpretentiousness of which reminds me of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand. Or maybe it has to do with the constant lyrical theme of nature’s mysterious power: thunderclaps and “hot whips of light” on opener “Apply”; fire that “burns on while we wait around to die” on “Glad”; the observation that “clouds were dust, raining on us” on “Home”; knowledge of how “the current can feel like the breathing of watery ghosts” on “Tremel”; and a force “connecting us entirely / Infinitely / Through the harmony” on “Treasury of We,” which goes on to remind the listener that “we’re the same, we’re all the same / Set apart by different names’.”

Whatever the source, the result is something to behold: nine musical meditations that are clearly indebted to long hours of studio trickery but that still sound as natural as the rainstorm that opens Internet fave “Home.” While Ms. Mesirow is hardly the first singer to attempt to surround synth-heavy songs with a spiritual aura, her varied use of real-life instruments grants her songs a human presence often obscured in the digital haze of contemporary synth pop. In the span of 38 minutes, we hear a saxophone honk inelegantly on closer “Clamour.” a careening flute and steady vibraphone on “Tremel,” ryhthmic finger-snapping on “Plane Temp,” a rather Oriental harp on “Glad,” reverb-heavy strings on “Home,” and wind chimes on “Mirrorage,” just to name a few instances of recognizable instruments piercing through all the woozy synths and guttural incantations.

As its name suggests, Ring is cyclical, and elements from one track effortlessly bleed into the next. For instance, “Tremel” ends with a rather sudden robotic echo that ends as suddenly as it appears; midway through the following track, however, we hear these computerized vocals return in perfect complement to the melody on “Mirrorage.” As Mesirow questions whether she “can trust in you,” the familiar squelches resound with both satisfying tunefulness and the pangs of self-doubt that accompany the start of every relationship. “Clamour” ends with a beat that mimics the opening of “Apply,” suggesting that this is a work meant to seep into our ears with repeated listens, and considering how self-assured and often beautiful Ring manages to sound, I’m more than happy to oblige.


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