I had to triple check the spelling of Halina Heron’s album title mesmeries three times and I still feel like my eyes are playing tricks on me. It isn’t mesmerize, although it does that too. It is a brilliant crafted, tongue-twisting, hybrid of mesmerize and memories, mesmeries: the state of hypnosis when you think too much about the past.
mesmeries depresses with its bulk. Each song, although quite brief, is dense with Heron’s layered whispers and a dronescape of a synth and warped acoustic guitar. The air is dense like a seaside fog. And like its title alludes to, Heron sings of the past. She sings of a person who has grown blurry around the edges but whose voice and smell and the pain they caused is as vivid as the day they left. The lone lyrics of “celestack,” which features a reoccurring tune that makes me think it comes from a wind-up musical box, is “see here, you were.” On “Whiskey Lily,” whose staccato piano chords act like shots of whiskey, Heron admits, “It’s unhealthy, it’s unreal. It’s all I can feel. You’re around me, bring me down.”
The dronescape that I mentioned earlier shifts in moods and textures from song to song. “Coral,” is glassy, as if the coral has been trapped inside a glass paperweight. Each bulbous synth note shimmers into the abyss. Standout “Clean,” has some of the most simplistic instrumentation, a gently plucked guitar, but Heron’s vocal layering is exquisite, a chorus of reminders.
Album closer “com•pli•ant” is a glitchy, jagged electronic tune with a danceable beat. It’s unexpected but welcome all the same. It cuts through the fog and shakes you from your mesmeries.
Top Tracks: “Clean”; “com•pli•ant”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)