Mentalease is the solo recording project of Spencer Harris. Inspired by the way noises on loop morph over time, or how a wall of amplifiers turns guitar sounds into a physical sensation, Mentalease looks to create a shelter under which to hide from the sensual bombardment of everyday life. Aggressive drum loops and piercing guitars combine with subdued singing and samples pulled from all corners of the sonic spectrum to create an experience that reminds us who we are, where we are, and what the human experience is all about.
“Living Dream” is built on a thunderous, distorted beauty that is compellingly gorgeous; a heavy, noisy metal bed of sound. A steam roller methodically leveling sunbaked melodies. Mentalease lays down a psychedelic stomp with an electric guitar and a chorus of swaying, hypnotized, sensual, opium-drenched sounds.
Just when I had given up on discovering anything new and exciting this week, this album arrived in my mailbox. And I am thrown into a hybrid of clanging, blaring slow-core rock and heartfelt vocals, with its pulsating blend of crunchy guitars and impassioned vocals. Mentalease’s ability to mix melody and menace is astonishing. He manages to simultaneously give an immediate pure noise thrill, whilst ceaselessly pushing the boundary of music.
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A definite must for fans of classic shoegaze noise-rock. The mix of vocals and beautifully distorted guitar form an entrancing blend of multicolored noise, while the rhythm section creates a powerful undercurrent constantly propelling the music forward. This is abrasive, dense, and busy but if you dig through all the clutter, there are some lush melodies buried underneath; they just take some time to unearth. “Waiting For You” is a perfect example of this. It’s an extremely well-written and structured song, that has an infectious hook and rhythm, yet it’s difficult to listen to on headphones with the volume turned up, due to the piercing noises constantly bombarding the aural spectrum.
There are some truly impressive bits of intertwining melodies spread throughout the album, like on “Beauty In The Dark” or “Molecules In Motion”, but it takes several listens to learn how to listen through the dense arrangements. Throughout the album you’ll hear plenty of layered, insane rhythms meshed with calm lyrical musings and melodies.
When you finally arrive at the end of the album, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief. Not because you’re glad it’s all over, but because the whole album is an eleven-track long journey, with highs and lows, and quite a few moments of near-madness, so it’ll feel like a small accomplishment before you dive right back in again, from the start!
I’m not going to single out songs because I think this is a bit like a symphony, the whole is so much more satisfying than the parts. It’s just not the same listening to “Breaking Through” in isolation, as it is going through the whole album and then being hit in the face like a whirlwind by “Breaking Through” .
I have to applaud Mentalease for releasing such a uniquely different recording.
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