To primal beats and a tropical hum Glasser opens the last night of her European tour with ‘Apply’. More effective than any synthesised sounds Cameron Mesirom’s voice is an intriguing instrument – her vocal carries the melody but also punctuates her songs with instrumental yelps and shards of sideway howls in an upper-register that sound like nocturnal jungle noises.
On her debut album Mesirow used elemental rhythms, modernist instrumentation and abstract lyricism as a vehicle for her unique voice – operatic in range and full of swirling expression. The result was Ring, a collection of skyward electro-pop, perfectly named due to the circular arrangements of the songs that draw in as they play out and the crowd at Dublin’s Crawdaddy is quickly ensnared.
String marimbas on ‘Treasury of We’ create a beautiful spidery pattern, melodic and percussive at the same time, a kind of feathery oriental tune cumulating in Cameron’s gleaming refrain “We beat our heads against the wall / We press our eyes into the ground”. Though assured in her singing there’s a slight awkwardness to Glasser’s stage presence. Her dance moves are angular, like that of a broken doll, and she carries herself with a fragility that in itself is fixating.
Her vocal control is unwavering though. On ‘Plane Temp’ she carries a soaring melody while interweaving with the songs low bass and clackety beats. The sweeping synth strings on ‘Home’ are matched by an ambitious choral arrangement and Glasser climbs up and down through the ranges with breath-taking (for the audience) ease. On top of these vocal acrobatics Cameron sings with a warmness and texture comparable to Joni Mitchell and more recently, fellow Canadian, Feist.
Though maybe not as forceful as the album, ‘Tremel’ is her siren moment – luring vocals and unrelenting rhythms spread out with a hypnosis effect. A graduate of linguistics Cameron plays around with words i.e. makes them up. Tremel refers to selfish temptation but who knows what ‘Mirrorage’ means. In saying that, it somehow makes sense when put through an eerie robot-voice effect while the glimmering melody, pulsing electronics and tribal percussion of the song ensue a something of gothic-electro dance-off.
As an end of tour treat Glasser returns to the stage for an encore, a spell-binding A Cappella performance of ‘Let No Man Steal Your Thyme’ by Pentagle. Minus her head dress and without her band Glasser is figuratively exposed but armed with a singular weapon – her voice silences the room with a cutting clarity that echoes out long into the night.
Photo by Rich Gilligan.