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Album Review: Anderson Mesa - The View From Here EP

Take the scrappy pop punk hooks of Blink 182 and early Green Day, add in a little synthesizer ala Motion City Soundtrack and Houston Calls, add a pinch of Set Your Goals style gang vocals and throw in some lyrics about girls, friends and being young with the occasional “f” word in them and you have Anderson Mesa. Sounds pretty sweet right? Unfortunately Anderson Mesa’s EP The View From Here is a little less than the sum of its parts.

Things begin promisingly enough with the first track “Promises”, which features a vibrant synth melody backed by furious drum pounding. But soon after we are introduced to the vocals, which are the albums major failing. They are whiny, yet also sort of rough and barely tolerable. They certainly aren’t instantly accessible and stand out like a sore thumb against the rest of the song. This is a shame because the musicianship is fairly decent, fast paced and poppy.

Things stay in the same vein in the next two songs which also showcase some listenable, yet formulaic instrumentation, dragged down by a voice that can’t carry a tune. The second song features a bridge where the lyrics are delivered in a quieter manner, and this delivery works much better. Unfortunately this isn’t stuck to and soon after we get more of singer and bassist Roberts scratchy whine

The EP also features two instrumental tracks to pad out the whole affair, as they certainly don’t add anything. Consisting of tranquil beats with some faint spoken word, the instrumentals seem out of place as two separate tracks, and maybe would have worked better as intro’s or outro’s to the songs. Yet they have no connection to the preceding or following songs, which just adds to their misplacement.

“Jumpers for Goalposts” and “Metro” deserve special mention as being the stand out tracks. The former, has a catchy guitar riff accompanied by familiar lyrical themes of unwillingness to grow up. The problems with the vocals still lurk but apart from that it is a decent tune. The latter deserves note for featuring the vocals at their least annoying, which makes a significant difference. There are still some problems, there isn’t much range to the vocals, but at least they can be listened to without intense frustration. The gang vocals, synths, and guitars are also all put to good use here and it shows that Anderson Mesa have some potential.

Until the vocals are fixed though potential is all Anderson Mesa will have. What they do succeed in is being done just as well by many pop punk bands, especially the ones listed above. So far it seems that the most outstanding aspect of the band is that their vocals are just plain bad, and that does not bode well. But if Anderson Mesa can fix these, and continue to build on their song crafting skills they might be able to carve out their own identity.


'The View From Here' EP by Anderson Mesa is released on November 28th.

Anderson Mesa on MySpace

Jamie Kirk

Alter The Press!