Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Josh Mease - Wilderness (Album Review)

Sometimes the background information on how an album was recorded is pertinent information and sometimes it's not. In the case of Wilderness it is very important. After listening to the subdued and sublime melodic trip of the songs on this album I am not surprised that Josh Mease recorded a good deal of this in a closet in his Brooklyn apartment. He then mixed it in his native Denton, Texas. The title of Wilderness is apt as Josh's songs evoke the wilderness, whether it be NY or Texas.

"You Found Me" has a Beatles-esque rhythm with softly soaring vocals. The change in tempo here is nice and swells at times with a wink to 70's pop production.

The third song, "Neon Ghost" has subtle glockenspiel accents and dreamily whispered vocals. The bedroom closet recording gives this song an intimate feel.

After 12 to 15 listens of Wilderness, "White Diamonds" is the melody that has me humming time and time again. With a swelling, full production in the bridge, it is anchored in 70's production with Josh's vocals keeping a foot in the present.

Beautiful Beach Boys like harmonies start out "Eleanor". 'So time will tell, maybe I'll know you well, you don't have much to say but words just get in the way'.

Electric guitar comes to the front for "On and On". The distorted solo here is a nice change from the sonic texture of the rest of the album. More sweet melodies that build into a crescendo.

The album closer, "Tall Trees" shows more of Josh's inventive nature. On this song the piano is played with an Asian flair. Other backing sounds give you the visual of a Japanese countryside.

Josh has managed to infuse Wilderness with a relative calm. He uses the energy of New York City and not the loudness. He defers from using the larger than life qualities of Texas and instead focuses on the isolation that such a big place can impose on it's residents. Josh separated himself from people while recording this album. This allowed him to devoutly follow the concept of a Wilderness whether it be in New York or Texas. The end result is a singular vision delivered with great melodies.

I can't wait to hear what Josh's next album sounds like.

If you would like to enjoy this album as much as I did, you can get it here: frogstand records, and also at i-tunes and amazon.

Josh is also on tour NOW, so check out his shows on his artist site: josh mease.


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