by Josh Mease


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Recorded at multiple locations and with collaborators, but partly alone in his Brooklyn apartment, Josh Mease's full-length debut, Wilderness, demonstrates his aptitude for both writing melody and for generating rich sounds with seemingly simple components. The soft-spoken swinger "White Diamonds," for example, opens sparsely with brushed snare, bassline, and a sequence of single notes on acoustic guitar. The instrumentation increases but maintains simple lines, creating a web of rolling rhythms that never lose their independence, under a fetching melody. Like most of the album, the outcome is both catchy and substantial. "Days Like This," a folksy piece that evokes Randy Newman, has even svelter instrumental support for the vocal melody but uses range and syncopation to great efficiency. The closer, "Tall Trees," employs a pentatonic scale, but even reducing the notes in his toolbox doesn't cause any noticeable hiccup in Mease's melodic and harmonic concoctions. It would be disingenuous to describe Wilderness without recognizing the Beatles, specifically their post-touring-retirement work, as a clear influence. There is even a song called "Eleanor" with guitars, salient vocal harmonies, and a Lennon-esque delivery that is likely to recall the Beatles for many from the opening seconds. Wilderness will not be mistaken for a 1960s release, however; one may just as fairly draw comparisons on certain tracks to Nick Heyward, Midlake, or Grizzly Bear. These artists, however, bring the Sgt. Pepper's-through-Abbey Road influence right back into deliberation. It's more on point to say what Mease has in common with the Beatles: a great capacity for writing melody, a warm vocal quality, a knack for harmonizing across instruments in addition to vocals, and perhaps a lack of 21st century mega-production recording practices. The result is sweet, lush, and intimate, not amateurish. Wilderness proves an exciting prospect for indie pop in the hands of a skilled and quickly trusted arranger and songwriter.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/21/2009
Label: Frog Stand Records
UPC: 0705105007731
catalogNumber: 50077

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Josh Mease   Primary Artist,Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Glockenspiel,Keyboards,Vocals
Frank LoCrasto   Piano,Clavinet
Jessica Martins   Vocals
Jess Martins   Vocals
Frank Locastro   Piano,Clavinet
Bill Campbell   Drums
Alan Hampton   Bass

Technical Credits

John Davis   Engineer
Matt Pence   Engineer
Peter Rende   Engineer
Aaron Nevezie   Engineer
Josh Mease   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer
Dan Molad   Engineer
John C.F. Davis   Engineer
Quinn McCarthy   Engineer
Jacob Goldman   Engineer

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