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Mesita

Living/Breathing EP


[Self-Released; 2010]



By ; February 4, 2011 


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

History seems to repeat itself for Mesita. The story went that in 2009 James Cooley—the name behind the Mesita moniker—released his No Worries EP after not being able to satisfyingly put together a full album. Fast forward almost a full year and after a series of exciting new tracks and months of hype about an album called The New Age, Cooley once again went through a sort existential crisis, at least regarding his music. And like before we’re left with an EP after he composed himself to give his audience something to mull over and enjoy. At least this time the future is looking brighter with a newly titled album set for 2011.

New track “In Crisis” seems to be a sort of musical equivalent of the journey Cooley goes through, going further than just describing what his state of mind likely was with that title. After building up a repeating sort of sinister Sufjan-esque banjo riff, it throws the whole background away on one furious strum of an electric guitar. We’re then left with the musical equivalent of Cooley trying to find the missing link between the start and end as he plays alone for thirty seconds, every note and blank point in full view. When you first listen it sounds like the whole song has come apart, catching you a little off guard but after a while you begin to hear how consistently Cooley plays for those thirty seconds, never letting the rhythm fall away or letting any way out get out of reach. And this makes the almost triumphant return of drums and trumpet all the more satisfying and monumental without being tediously bombastic. It’s a man’s own personal victory.

At the very least though, just hearing Cooley alone with his guitar for those thirty seconds is a kind of treat in itself as it shows just how much he’s come along as a musician in the past year or two, especially considering he’s taught himself to play every instrument he’s every used. In times past Mesita songs were charming for their everything-in-the-blender style but awkward melodies did in turn kind of stick out. On Living/Breathing EP, everything seems to intertwine casually but with a sort of caffeinated articulation. The melodies on “Jet Trails,” “Your Free Spirit,” and the title track seem to glimmer, emitting an uplifting light that envelopes you into a daze of good feelings, no matter what might be going on around you.

Back before Christmas the UK was given numerous fresh blankets of festive snow as you might have heard if you ever caught a minute of the BBC news footage. With blizzards forming sheets of white mist right in front of my eyes, listening to Mesita’s new EP served as a blissful juxtaposition. Even when my hands were as cold as the back of a freezer from making snowballs, my mood couldn’t be brought down by the risk of hypothermia setting in when I had “Living/Breathing” playing. Since the song dropped in its original form back at the start of the year i’ve put it together with about every superlative I can think of. To me there’s no fault in the song whatsoever and this newer version (with added piano and bass and new vocals) just offers everything good about Mesita while making you feel as good as you can.

“Cowards Run” is also fitted with new features in the form of spiky guitars and updated vocals while “Here For You” is changed from being led by piano to guitar driven, sounding like he’s working out the song as it progresses. The other two known songs, “Jet Trails” and “Your Free Spirit” seems free of anything else blatantly new but Cooley did well to leave them alone as they already are already pretty full in what they offer, “Jet Trails” especially with its great and varied percussion and swirling melodies.

The only real thing I feel I can fault the EP on is the changes made to two of the tracks mentioned above. The new vocal line on “Cowards Run” isn’t quite as ecstatic and vivacious as the original take, making the chorus that bit less effective and the added electric guitar isn’t unwelcome but it feels like it’s there to just fill any points which might be deemed open for a little something on top. With the way Cooley plays you can hear his frustration as he tries to find that exact melody to fill the space. I was glad Cooley didn’t completely get rid of the piano on “Here For You” as after the first chorus it comes into the pictures as the track seems set to build an even bigger wall of sound. Sadly it just seems to disappear altogether, making its appearance in the middle of the song all the more fleeting.

But these are minor and personal qualms that only exist because i’ve been following Cooley near enough religiously since last year and had all the previous versions of these songs in my head. But because i’ve been following him I have the original versions of these songs and if I want to hear a piano led version of “Here For You” I can just play it. For any casual listener who’s entering Cooley’s world via this EP, the songs will be near enough perfect in what they offer. Even if there are changes in the songs, the overall end result is music that sounds more mature without losing that kind of childish charm it has at its core, where the creation stems from.

Many seems to associate Mesita with being relatively care-free, at least in his sound but on this EP he manages to show himself not as some teenager taking in the world around him but as a young adult who’s aware that life’s pleasures are fleeting and to be treasured while they are here. On the beautiful and simple “For The Best” he seems to reminisce over a past love but never does come across as bitter, instead giving his best wishes and accepting the situation life has led him to: “And I hope you are well/ I’d never wish ill on you/ Once thought you’d be here with me/ Some things are not meant to be/Since you i’ve been mostly smiles/After the thoughts I expressed/ Not heard from you in a while/ Sometimes it’s all for the best.”

Even if history does repeat itself again and we have to wait longer than anticipated for Mesita’s next full album, it’s hard to complain much when you have even just the Living/Breathing EP in your possession to tide you over. I’d like to remain optimistic on this one: here we have evidence of the superb musicianship that Cooley is capable of and it serves as justification for waiting as long as we have to and why I personally have followed him as closely as I can for all this time. The new age might not be around the corner but at least, like the cover of the EP itself, the next sunrise looks to be the start of a beautiful day. History is Cooley’s for the making.


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