Automation Baby

 

Just Leave Us Alone

From the introductory sound and melody, this is Mesh, make no mistake, those lush sounds mixed with the more delicate and newer distorted and filtered twisting’s that complete the recipe. Mark Hockings vocals work with these ingredients in the usual manner and before you settle down your into a wonderful Mesh song. One thing that has always been and remained part of the mesh experience is the lyrics and this song doesn’t disappoint “tearing friends from paper” and “and our hands start shaking from the risk we’re taking” are immediate standouts for me. Also the middle eight which is probably as close as mesh will ever get to dub step is particularly clever , followed by a build back to the main theme. I think there some guitar towards the end but it’s difficult to discern as the sounds morph so well into the overall sound.

Taken for Granted

Starts off with some vocal atmospheric samples and a spinning sound before launching into the type of powering drums and synth bass that only Mesh can do like this, this track was one that I saw previewed on YouTube with Mark recording the vocals,  I couldn’t wait for the album after this wet my appetite. I had played the YouTube clip about fifty times before the album came out so I knew this track well, I love the run up to the chorus as Mark sings “ I can take the smooth, I just can’t take the rough” and then your hit with the fantastic chorus with its almost Depeche Mode feel, almost “Never Let Me Down Again” sorry to keep quoting lyrics but it’s difficult not to feel the power from them as in “I just can’t live this life with all these dreams and nothing more”, they just seem to connect with my soul! Then another section that reminds me of “Never Let Me Down Again”, some piano parts get added to the song and then it drops to just leave piano and Marks vocals, you get hit with the chorus and everything is in just the right time and place with this brilliant song. For me it’s like someone’s hand going down your throat and strangling your heart, in a musical sense, and leaves me questioning if a song should have this huge effect!

You Want What’s Owed To You

This song skips along in what sound like a 6/8 rhythm using large sounding drums and some synthetic lines interleaved with the vocals, some other unusually sampled melodic parts enter the mix, along with filtered vocals, synth wails and cymbal crashes interject, with some good stop start middle eight sections and a drum dropout, layering of sounds is particularly noticeable in how some really nice sounds and melodies are created in this song.

 

Automation Baby

The title track starts in what can only be described as a Mesh moment of huge sounds filtered, reverbed and gated before the huge slamming bass sounds propel this title track along, more classic lyrics and a good powerful backing synthesiser bounce into the chorus that’s met with an even more powerful bass bouncing sound, synthesiser sounds sweep across beautifully with little interjections of indescribable links, there’s even a section of 8 bit synth computer game style saw tooth genius, how can you throw all this together and get it to sit so well together? I don’t know how they achieve this almost effortlessly.

Incidental number one

Mesh have always had these links on their albums, going back to their first realises back in the dark ages and its serves as to break up the songs and provide I guess, the same thing that the chill outs do in clubs, gives you a little insight into how they put everything together, this first one reminds me of some of the things Depeche Mode were doing with their instrumental tracks like “Christmas island”.

This Is the Time

This tracks first few seconds contains a lot of what Mesh songs are,  the sounds that take the place of drums may have started life as drum sounds one day but they are twisted filtered and compressed into something different but doing the same job as with the synthetic warbling’s that replace them , then there’s the eight pulses that hit your ears as huge slabs of bass prop up and vanish permitting the huge choruses that leave your ears wanting them and shouting out AGAIN, give me that chorus AGAIN. Lyrically brilliant again “but it’s time to concede, that I need more than this to be free, and its hard to believe that we’ve been so completely deceived” this is how you should sing, just listen to the emotion, this is a band that write songs because they have to let them out. It’s what people who like the artist on X Factor will never understand! This is a gut wrenching song that as it progresses only gets better, I had briefly forgotten how good they were at their trademark lead lines, as one enters towards the end, huge and could only possible be Mesh. I’d have to give this song a ten!  I can’t think how you could possible better it.

The Way I Feel

The introduction ingeniously sounds like it’s from crackly vinyl with an acoustic guitar and drums, Marks yet again outstanding vocals are excellently harmonised as we are almost into ballad territory, before a powerful lift to what must be the chorus. The song just goes to prove that even if you take all of the synthetic orchestrations away from the Mesh sound you’re still left with a SONG, some drifting choir type sounds swirl around as the song finishes with the crackling vinyl.

Adjust Your Set

As to completely contrast the last offering the song treads on heavy industrial territory. Punctuated drum machine and synthetic  trawling’s accompany Marks vocals with sweeping string sounds unveiling a plodding rhythm as the album moves in a slightly different direction just to keep you on your toes. Another noteworthy middle eight section shakes things up with it leaning towards 8 bit video gaming sounds before everything else fades up, more piano concludes this track with an almost orchestral ending.

Born to Lie

Another what sound like a 6/8 rhythm skips along as the filters open to drive along another pulsating synthbass sound. A huge chorus is underlined with powerful synth melodies so as to make no mistake that you could possible miss it, this track makes me realise that there’s another part of Meshes sound that I’ve forgot to mention and that the synthetic drum rolls that excellently punctuate these song along with their almost squealing sounds and huge powerful orchestrated and multilayer lines that stop and start perfectly, another different ending with ethereal vocals heavily distant with reverberation to the fade.

Incidental number two

We then go into the second incidental interlude to enable you to get your breath back, scuttling almost real, played drum sounds along with “MESH” sounds and nurdlings cut into a massive reverbed end.

Flawless

A thunder storm bang and phased sweep plunge you into a arpeggiated synth and guitar wall of sound jump into the stilted chorus, met by more driving guitar adding to the overall power and industrial, albeit without  the matching vocals and filtered vocal effects outro to an almost storm like setting.

Never Meet Your Heroes

A weird twisting machine like sound starts you off gently in this Mesh masterpiece of Meshness that only they can do, huge sliding bass sounds push you around on top of the pulsating rhythm leaving Mark and some truly wonderful reverse vocal effects that guide you into the awesome catchy chorus, this song contains another dose of everything in the right place and time wonderfulness, and THAT CHORUS tripping along with the synth lines pinching and prodding your eardrums, a little drop again to highlight the contrasting massiveness of the chorus with some almost ethereal choir type sounds sliding about in the background before a chiming synth solo meet you and lead you by the hand to the end of this awesome track. Got to be another ten out of ten, repeatedly play at loud volumes over and over again!

When he City Breathes

A twanging synthesiser competes with a massive synthesised distorted wall of sound which subsides into the gut wrenchingly catchy song again, beating your psyche again and again relentlessly to you finally submit to the brilliance of it. I’m again left utterly confused as to how such songs can be created, amazing twisted synthetic burbling’s bounce with this massive bound of a song, dare I say another ten out of ten track!

You Couldn’t See This Coming

Unfortunate I could see this coming the end of the album and the final track, almost by way of apologising for the albums end Mark delivers yet another flawless epic performance of whatever he does, calling it a vocal almost does it an injustice, nothing compares to the emotion he puts in this track, he lives it and feels it, simple as that, a drum less but still rhythmically beautiful with synthetic sequences propelling this track, hugely orchestrated and what a way to finish the track. I challenge anyone not to feel the emotion of this track, when I mention about maturing work this is something I don’t think that Mesh could have produced so well a few years ago! What a way to end a fantastic album, I make no apologies for being a massive fan and they don’t disappoint, this is one of my favourite albums of all time!

 

Mesh still are able to produce albums that I look forward to with great relish, their sound matures but not in that way, it’s a cliché but it gets better, as it doesn’t forget and leave behind what made it good in the first place. I like this new sound and it can best be described as being more refined and expensive, there’s a hell of a lot that goes on in the mix using sounds that can’t really be described. Beautifully produced by Olaf Wollschläger.

Add all this to the fact that the songs are truly GREAT and you have a pretty good description of Mesh. An unreserved ten out of ten!