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Glasser at The Button Factory, Dublin, 27th May 2014

The ‘difficult second album’ is a phenomenon that pops its head up over and over again. Its reasons are many, but not least because an artist has all their life to write and record a debut but only a few short years for a follow-up. There are also more subtle reasons why second albums don’t achieve like the debuts, and Glasser’s ‘Interiors’ certainly falls foul of this.

When ‘Ring’ was released in 2010 Glasser’s soft electro/female vocal combo was an unusual one. It was a breath of fresh air like nothing that had come across our ears before. Fast forwards three years and Polica and Purity Ring have piled into the wanting genre, with Chvrches and Austra taking a similar but distinct path. ‘Interiors’ did not possess the uniqueness of ‘Ring’ and, thus, tended that bit more away from public consciousness.

That is probably the reason that the crowd is so sparse as Cork-based Talos take the stage. Their own indie-electro is intriguing, particularly Eoin French’s lilting falsetto, with hints of Wild Beasts here and there. Tethered Bones, which closes the short but sweet set, particularly points them out as a band to keep an eye on.

The crowd has filled out only a little bit more by the time Glasser enters the stage – a moment delayed by AV problems. “Shall we just get on with it,” Cameron Mesirow, aka Glasser, asks her DJ, the only other person sharing the stage.

For much of the show, she seems nervous. Perhaps it’s the technical glitches that started the show. Perhaps it’s the sparse crowd, or ‘first night on tour’ jitters. Perhaps it’s because her new songs don’t work as well as her older material in a live setting. But, whatever the cause, Mesirow seems rattled.

Being alone on stage, she is the focus of all eyes, unable to hide anywhere. She dances around the stage in the manner of a giddy, free-spirited adolescent, but it somehow seems forced. She is desperately trying to lose herself in the music; to force herself into some kind of form. She even puts down the mic, her only instrument for the evening, for parts of Window to give her freer movement.

She interacts with the onstage screen too – it’s fixed after the second song – but again it seems forced. She seems mentally uncomfortable on stage and tries everything she can think of to push those thoughts from her head.

It would all be okay if the music was working as well as it could. Unfortunately, here is another glitch. Mesirow’s beautiful, ethereal voice is too often drowned out by the harsh beats of the ‘Interiors’ songs. Her vocal dexterity is something to marvel at but is all but lost in the like of Design and Exposed, save for the screams she works up to.

It’s even more noticeable when contrasted with Apply, the undoubted highlight of the night taken from ‘Ring’. It’s a truly cerebral experience, feeling at once intimate and overwhelming, on a level different to anything that has come before. It shows that Glasser can be magnificent when things go right.

Things don’t go right too often tonight and, short of an hour, Glasser is gone. It seems like she’s about to start another song but stops instead and exits the stage. “Goodnight Springton, there will be no encore.”

We don’t know why it went so wrong for Glasser in the Button Factory, we just know it did.

Photos: James Murray

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