From the opening warbled call of Shape to the glittering strings-and-electronics fadeout that finishes Divide, the new GLASSER record, Interiors, overwhelms with the force of grace, compassion and introspection. If there’s any complaint to lay at Cameron Mesirow’s feet, it’s that the dense layers of sound and meaning create a labyrinth that’s intimidating for the listener to navigate.
Intimidating, yet while the arrangements on Interiors reach a level of intricacy surpassing that of GLASSER’s first record (Ring, released in 2010), there’s a continuation of the dreamlike, almost-a-lullaby feel. In a music culture landscape of claustrophobic compression, insistent vocal manipulation and lead-heavy bass-kicks, GLASSER’s sound crafts a comfortable space where we can stretch our tired auditory limbs.
The title Interiors befits the feel the record. Transported willingly into the pages of an expansive and beautifully photographed architectural digest, it’s easy to imagine tracks like Dissect forming a lyric backdrop to expanses of stone, hardwood and glass. Staccato percussion and unexpected sounds injected at key moments echo the tactile experience of a doorknob turned in the hand, of a creaking casement hinge. Vocals, verbal and otherwise, are beyond silk-smooth. On tracks like Window II the soundscape balances somewhere in the limbo between lucid dream and listening to a lover’s breathing on a warm autumn afternoon, the windows open and the shadow play of leaves on the bedroom wall.
Barely tangible internal dialog is the lyrical emblem on Interiors. Frank examinations of memory and uncertainty (New Year), a mix of childlike amazement and grown-up philosophizing with a dash of wry humor (Design), or the confusion and tumult of love and longing (Landscape). But it’s the mental-musical landscape of the opening track, Shape, that defines the aesthetic of the whole record:
“When the crossing gets too wide then I go home / To the fluctuation I have on my own. And I look out longingly over the beach / There’s an ocean making life beyond my reach. And the vastness is too much for me to stand / And by the light of the truth all I can do is bow”
Defying genre classification, reveling in a sense of wonder, transporting the listener to unexplored musical and intellectual vistas, Interiors satisfies profoundly.
Review by Blake Irvin