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. Unsurprisingly though, the true brilliance behind Ring
isn’t in its title-foreboding design, as undeniably chiastic
as it may be, but in the far less forward elements of its creation.
Like White Hinterland’s severely underappreciated Kairos
, though Ring
is an album drenched in gorgeous waves of synths and heavy, tribal percussion, it’s Cameron Mesirow’s voice that stands firmly as the orchestra’s conductor. There are times on Ring
you could even be fooled she’s some sort of pop-favouring apprentice of Fever Ray’s Karin Dreijer Andersson (it's no coincidence they share the same production team). Moments like the end of the brilliant opener “Apply” resemble what’s best about her: the lyric “morning” is sung repeatedly with vocal layers of Mesirow singing the word in different rhythms stacked on each other in the mix. It creates a beautiful wall of sound where the listener can almost feel its shifts and nuances and it’s one of the most remarkable moments on the album.
Though her songs aren’t always as busy as “Apply” might suggest, it’s their expansiveness that remains a constant. The amelodic glockenspiel tinkering that begins and ends “Home” is engaged by handclaps and a looming, melancholic synth melody, “Plane Temp” swirls around a hypnotic, accordion-accompanied chant, and “Tremel” sparkles with a sinister, percussive undercurrent. Ring
's scope is tremendously brave for an artist with just one EP under her belt and the way Mesirow manages to balance the different elements of her music in such a careful, unchallenging way is what make this album such a deep experience; you can fall right into it.
This is pop music in its most artful form, the work of deep appreciation and detail. Ring
is an album that puts Cameron Mesirow on par with any of the emerging group of experimental female vocalists and if we didn’t notice it before, there’s a Glasser-shaped hole somewhere between Bat For Lashes’ conceptual pop schizophrenia and Fever Ray’s icy soundscapes and Cameron Mesirow is the missing puzzle piece. Debut albums rarely come more accomplished.