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MesaVerde — All Is Well
(Apollon Records APO, 2024, CD / LP / DL)

MesaVerde — Live 2023
(Apollon Records no#, 2023, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-03-02

All Is Well Cover artLive 2023 Cover art

In late 2023, Oslo’s MesaVerde previewed the release of their second album with a live EP including four tunes that would be released in studio form in 2024. Three of the tracks, “Pyramid Fucksnake,” “Moments,” and “Pickings for the Beast,” were recorded in their home studio, while the fourth, “Eyes,” was recorded “Live from the forest of Maridalen,” a valley on the outskirts of Oslo. “Eyes” is a lovely tune with acoustic guitars and nice vocal harmonies, while the others are full-band efforts in MesaVerde’s distinctive mix of breezy progressive rock, funk, and art pop. “Pyramid Fucksnake,” in spite of its odd title, is a catchy tune, though I couldn’t say what the lyrics are about. These live songs are intriguing and all sound really full without any overdubs or elaborate production.

The studio album is called All Is Well, and for the previewed songs, it shows just how MesaVerde can fill things out without overdoing it. The sound is big, with tasty keyboard layers and more fullness to the guitars, not to mention the expanded vocal harmonies. Trying to describe their sound to someone who’s never heard them is challenging. I sometimes think of mid-70s Caravan with less of the English whimsy, though there’s still a light touch that gives all of the songs a cheerful sound regardless of the lyrics. Some of the beautiful lushness of the production reminds me of early Alan Parsons Project albums. The connection to progressive rock comes not from epic, complex compositions but from harmonic sophistication and skillful arrangements that step outside conventional expectations. Every one of the nine tracks is a well-honed gem that has a slightly different take on the MesaVerde sound, and the album as a whole is a brilliant combination of the familiar and the unexpected.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): MesaVerde

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