Mesa Jane - Level
|Mesa Jane - Levels|
Iiiiiiiiiiin West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground was where I spent.....what? Oh, sorry. So you're saying Mesa Jane (aka Melissa Olivieri) is from Philadelphia but she isn't the Fresh Princess? Well, you learn something new every day. This new album from the Philly chanteuse starts with 'Haunt You' and immediately it's obvious that Mesa Jane makes polished but darkly seductive electro pop with a sophisticated edge. 'Lay Your Arms Down' does nothing to dispel this theory as I am reminded of the likes of Dubstar, the Sneaker Pimps, Everything But The Girl and Ellie Goulding before she started hanging around in her bra. On 'Love You Endlessly' there's a breathy, sexual feel that the likes of Britney or Miley would kill for right now while 'Don't Stop' is a straight up, bouncing pop romp with some gorgeous synth sounds thrown in for good measure.
Things take a turn for the melancholy on the gently defiant 'I Won't Take It Anymore' as Mesa Jane goes for a sound between Portishead and Air which is a pretty beautiful sound. 'Happen Again' is another downbeat tune full of tenderness before 'Coming Through' emerges from the shadows with a sense of defiance and layered up melodies that sweep in and out of view. Mesa Jane has a subdued sensuality and seductiveness to her voice that so many of the great electro singers have and the richness of her tones makes up for the often sparse instrumentation as on the gently industrial 'Why Don't We'. And then, just to provide a moment of clarity, Melissa sits down at a grand piano and gentle squeezes some notes out to form the beginning of 'Meet You There' - a song that, in the wrong hands, would have been an emo power ballad but not here. Oh no. The simple but sumptuous piano merges with our heroines voice and only a few extra ripples of cymbal are needed to eek every drop of emotion out of this song. The album closes with the St Etienne-esque 'I Can't Feel' and a remix of 'I Won't Take It Anymore' by CJ which adds a new perspective on the original but doesn't improve it. Mesa Jane is an understated talent and, as such, I fear that she will get overlooked but I hope she can get her music heard more outside of the US as I have a feeling the British, German and Scandinavian markets would lap this up. Just a hunch. Oh, and she makes chunky knit wear look pretty sexy too so that's always a fall back career.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/mesajanemusic
12th July - Gr8 Soundz, Hellertown
19th July - Jo Jo South Records, Baltimore
27th July - Val's Halla Records,
1st August - Absolute Records, Boulder
2nd August - Rock N' Robbin's Records, Fort Collins
6th August - Diabolical Records, Salt Lake City
10th August - Music Millennium, Portland