Sep 2013 17

Mesh - Automation>>BabyMesh
Category: Electro / Synthpop
Album: Automation>>Baby
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: By hitting notes of pure melodrama, Mesh delivers a great release, but one that runs the risk of exhausting the act’s signature aesthetic of hyper emotionalism and pop energy.


The latest record from the British duo Mesh easily outshines all of the band’s material to date and, truthfully, makes for one of the best efforts in the genre in the recent past. All tones of this romantic blend of electronic whizz and pop spirit are surely familiar and merely an extension of the band’s already proven style, but whether you demand from your favorite artists a forced evolution or sustained conceptual continuity, there is much to enjoy on Automation>>Baby, even if you are asked to overlook several musical slips and the occasional sentimental overload.

The romantic zest of the previous records returns full force on the opening track and in between the hints of dubstep clichés and the body of a usual for Mesh synthpop composition, “Just Leave Us Alone” is unremarkable if assembled with undeniable vigor. The album unfolds further trough the deep, resonant synths of “Taken for Granted” with its catchy chorus and the 8-bit bleeps of “Automation Baby” that, while following closely the traditional mainstream pop conventions, delivers a memorable mélange of crisp sounds, escalating bridges, and melodic vocalization that never gives up the track’s initial dynamic tempo. “This is the Time” is a case of Mesh cranking it to 11; the height of the romanticized pop stars’ hyper emotionalism marks the limitation of Automation>>Baby’s style, dynamic, and longevity in its first half. Still, together with the superb and rhythmical “Flawless” towards the record’s end, both are undeniable high points of the entire endeavor leaving the listener with the pleasant feeling of emotional exhaustion. The sustained high quality of the music is in constant symbiosis with Hockings’ pitch. Its absence in the instrumental parts of the album is noticeable and both “AB” interludes serve no obvious purpose, building neither the mood nor attempting to link the gaps in between the shifting tempo of the songs. Together with some less successful portions of the release like the borderline mawkish “Adjust Your Set,” Mesh halts the progress and the general flow of the record and dilutes the impact of its most powerful parts like the hard hitting, dynamic electro of “When the City Breathes” or “Born to Lie.”

Fans of Mesh and synthpop in general will be pleased with this finely attuned transmission of old/new romantic energy, but its unnerving that a band of such prowess and capacity so determinedly recycles its own catalog. True that with each incarnation, the act’s songs deliver a stab at the heart even more cruel and precise than before, but the predictability of that touch begins to detract from the cold calculated beauty of the performance that, while pleasant to admire, rings less and less exciting with each emotional and musical beat. For now, Automation>>Baby remains the best release in the 20 year history of Mesh; not quite a sudden revelation, but rather an evolution – glacial, consistent, and resulting in a rather impressive synthpop organism.
Track list:

  1. Just Leave Us Alone
  2. Taken for Granted
  3. You Want What’s Owed to You
  4. Automation Baby
  5. AB Incidental No.1
  6. This is the Time
  7. The Way I Feel
  8. Adjust Your Set
  9. Born to Lie
  10. AB Incidental No.2
  11. Flawless
  12. Never Meet Your Heroes
  13. When the City Breathes
  14. You Couldn’t See This Coming

Mesh Website
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Dependent Records Website
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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