If Mike Snow, Thom Yorke, Bon Iver and Chris Martin all decided to have a foursome from which through the magic of music and the cosmos aligning they birth a child – James Cooley would be the gifted offspring. Part quivering falsetto, part subtle electronica, and part magnificently large arrangements, Mesita is the personal project of James Cooley, a young but vastly developed musician from Colorado. Creating and releasing all his own music under the name Mesita and remaining unsigned, Cooley’s albums and EP’s are isolated within his own musical space, for the listening pleasure of any soul that wishes to slip in and out of a landscape of rich sounds and dreamy vocalizations. XYXY, Mesita’s 3rd EP remains largely on the same page as Cooley’s other work – fluid, easy on the ears and elegant. Only 4 songs long, the EP still manages to build a highly textured and specific room for the listener to inhabit and escape within through the duration of the short tracks.
Beginning with ‘Alone is Okay’, the song opens in a fairytale-esque tone, full with a winding piano melody and hints of things i can only call ‘crystal noise’. From there Cooley croons what is essentially a song of loneliness; ‘alone is my calling i have been here before, back in the spring you lead me out to this world’. A combination of his voice and the melody though give much room for the listener to stray away from the potential of the song to be even somewhat sad; instead Cooley masterfully weaves a place of solace. I’m not sure if i’ve ever described another artist as ‘graceful’, but Mesita exudes that quality. From the way each song, with its dynamic and layered structure has the ability to unravel rather blissfully without pretension or even much of a show speaks to Cooley’s maturity as an artist. In XYXY, this is seen in how all four songs seem soft, like the stuff of spring and early morning dreams, but have a sharpness to its composition which is brought together and built on Cooley’s aerial and wintry voice. It’s strange, throughout XYXY there were moments where I thought I was listening to a lighter Holocene, or perhaps Thom Yorke’s less depressive younger brother.
Don’t get me wrong, Cooley is a serious artist, who makes serious music – but each song has the capacity to make itself sound like it’s not that serious at all, which is where he sits apart from the other voices I have compared him to. And perhaps this is really where Mesita quickly gains fans after a few listens. His music is just so god damn swell you know? There’s an easiness to his older stuff even if the roots of Cooley’s songs are meant to explore heavier themes. I get the feeling that Mesita, in some ways, like the first track of this EP assures their audience that everything is ‘okay’. A comforting message wrapped up in the notes of a lot of Mesita’s songs, I cannot help but think this quality is lacking in several indie music acts. In track 3, Kingston, Cooley sings over an absolutely magical (thats the only way to describe the sound) arrangement a story of bitterness which then concludes on ‘all of this world will stay turning, we’ll be fine, we’ll be fine’.
I’ve placed here Cooley’s older stuff, which might be more summery than XYXY, but also a good example of how a cocktail of that heartfelt voice and large but effortless tune can make one rather elated; content even. Please do check out Mesita’s other stuff, he’s a completely self-made and self-produced as I mentioned earlier, and has the capacity to keep delivering that lovely complacent sound that can put anyone at ease. Perhaps, like the theme Cooley so fondly revisits throughout his music, everything will be alright. At least when I’m listening to this version of ‘Living/Breathing’ at 2 am on a July night, i’m convinced it just might be.