Album-Review: Mesh – Looking Skyward
British Goth/Synthpop band Mesh just offered the world their latest release, Looking Skyward. Mesh’s last milestone before that had been the critically acclaimed Automation Baby in 2013, hence the build-up of expectations for this new creation that took 3 years in the making.
Looking Skyward is a solid release, sounding strongly like its title would suggest, with sky-high melodies, hopeful and dramatic at the same time, always beautifully crafted.
The album contains some very strong songs, from the gracefully desperate-sounding tracks in the classic Mesh style à la “You Didn’t Want Me”, such as “My Protector”, “Tactile”, or “Before This World Ends”, to the bright, stellar tracks like “Two+1”, which seems to illustrate perfectly the album name.
Mesh even indulges in some more aggressive sounds and lyrics on tracks such as “The Ride”, which they also excel at, using rhythms breaks, unusual thick keyboard hooks and layers, supported by very strong lead vocals and unexpected backing vocals tying everything together.
“I can’t be sure that it won’t hurt more”
Looking Skyward is no doubt a suitable successor to Automation Baby: an interesting album, sounding new and familiar at the same time, all around very dancy, without failing to provide the very traditional to the scene “Depeche-Mode-sounding” song: “There must be a way”.
Some tracks are pure killers and got the potential to become dancefloor classics.
The one weakness is the irregularity in quality within the album itself. While some tracks sound like absolute classics as soon as they start playing, others remain unnoticed even after the second and third listen. Thus, the album starts strongly with “My Protector”, and the listener is taken by a whirlwind of vivid and colourful melody and beats. But then the rhythm slows down, and the listener’s attention tends to zoom out for a song or two. A while after, another strong song comes in, and we’re back onboard. It’s a bit of an in-and-out experience all along the album, and it feels like some “weaker” songs have managed to make it to the album.
But this is not gonna prevent any Synthpop addict from enjoying this delightful album that is mixed and produced wonderfully and that already sounds like a classic.
Mesh never fails to produce a neat, clean Synthpop made of smooth synth layers and perfectly measured beats, carried by the expressive melancholic vocals of Mark Hockings. The blend is harmonious, balanced, captivating and leaving a feeling of press-the-replay-button.
It will certainly have us waiting patiently three more years for Mesh’s next offering.
Review by Marie Lando.