What does Mesadorm sound like?
Indie pop circa 2002 goes symphonic with 2022’s world-weary mind and musical toys.
The review of Mesadorm – Pollinator
Following on from their stunning debut “Heterogaster” and the hybrid new material and stripped-back rearrangement follow-up “Epicadus“, Mesadorm returns to its full sonic spectrum of sound for “Pollinator”. The UK indie pop outfit continues to provide exciting and inventive ways to switch up traditional sound design or song structure. Crucially, they also do it bound by symphonic emotion and hints of catchy melodies that fleetingly ground the more experimental flow of the album.
Unlike previous Mesadorm albums, there is less of an emphasis on riffs and more of a focus on cascades of feeling. Riffs do exist here but the album feels more like a flock of sound that overrides the riffs and instead glides and swoops on emotional swells. Take “Rock So Soft” as an example. There is a guitar and keyboard riff and chord progression to begin with but the synths, drums and at times the vocal collage of ooh’s swamp the base and sweep you away. It feels like a prog-rock style of songwriting shapeshifting into indie pop songs. What Mesadorm lose in immediacy they more than makeup for in the fluidity and emotional swell of their music. “Every Breathe (A Journey of Loving You)” moves from spikey dance beats and swarming synths shooting stars left and right into a glorious bloom of strings and emotionally charged vocals. Then the mood shifts entirely from devotional to one of tension and it feels so effortless and natural whilst being surprising and unusual.
This concept of songs having multiple personalities is one that Mesadorm commit to across the album. Whilst there are eight tracks, it feels like a lot more. “Now Is The Time” is a hedonistic indie rock explosion of synth energy, power chants and furious percussion whipping itself into a frenzy. Once whipped into a frenzy, it fades off into an extended dreamhaze outro. The warm symphonic ballad “More Than a Moment” takes precisely that amount of time to pause midtrack and simply let the string section slowly twist a single note. It’s a beautiful song of cathartic build-up and release. “Lady Woman” is a mash-up of abstract percussive noise, a string arrangement and a powerful vocal chorus. The bountiful title track mixes electronica with real drums and sublime vocals that feel borrowed from a 70s jazz collective. It also contains the excellent lyric “between your legs is a rising sun”. Single “Soap Opera” reminds me of everything that was good about early 2000s indie pop acts like Frou Frou and Venus Hum but more emboldened. “Tenorion Try” is as playful with its crazy beats as it is euphoric with its chirpy brass arrangements too.
Nothing feels like it’s a straightforward song and indeed nothing is. That’s what makes Mesadorm such a fascinating act to follow. You aren’t sure where the next eight bars are going never mind the next song.
One extra detail I love about this album is that Mesadorm has added effects all over the begins and ends of many songs to make it sound like the album is being played as a cassette. The album opens with a press play button. Songs are stopped and a tape is fast forward, rewound and then we press play and off we go again. It’s a lovely touch that doesn’t merge into the actual songs themselves but gives the album a homely quality all of its own.
“Pollinator” is a grower, not a shower. Perhaps given its subject matter of the next generation, love, gender and being Earth-conscious, that’s a conscious decision. Each time I play it back I discover something new or a new slant to read some of the lyrics in. Mesadorm has created a wonderfully fluid album in motion, full of emotion. It has a lot to say and requires the listener to engage fully to really reach its full depths but doing so is infinitely rewarding. This band continues to be one of the best pioneers for indie music on this spinning rock we call home.
Recommended track: Every Breath (A Journey of Loving You)
Support Higher Plain Music
Higher Plain Music is part of the Higher Plain Network – a one-man indie media project. If you like what I do, please consider supporting me via Patreon for as little as $1/£1 a month. In return, you’ll receive additional perks for supporting me, such as behind-the-scenes content and free downloads. You can also donate using PayPal. Sharing the website helps too or using the affiliate buy now links on reviews. I receive a few pence per Amazon sale. All your support will enable me to produce better content, more often. I’d love to make this a full-time media network and your support can make that happen. Thank you.