I first had a chance to appreciate this downtempo gem (multiple times) when I brought it to a wonderful 48-hour afterparty deep in the Irish countryside in the late 90’s, every track has a faint sketchy memory attached to a different stage of that hazy, colourful gathering. Every time I listen to this album I am transported back to that party and the temporary best friends I made in that overcrowded rural house.
I was never a huge fan of the term ‘trip hop’ but on this occasion the genre name summarises this album perfectly for me. Their first album ‘Blue Lines’ featuring the massive ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ landed just as my rave legs were starting to build some muscle back in 1991, I then followed them, albeit somewhat loosely through the next 7 years and two more lesser listened albums until this beast arrived in a blaze of heavyweight PR and completely raised the bar to an entirely new height for them again.
There are so many killer tracks on this LP. ‘Teardrop’ has a time and a place in your life and should always be approached with extreme caution as it has the power to seriously lift your spirits, inspire you, or alternatively draw you into a much deeper, more brooding place. Elizabeth Fraser’s haunting vocal masterpiece has been used so many times down the years in movies and TV programs it’s now a properly certified household anthem. The mark of a truly great song is the power to tug you in many different directions emotionally depending on your current mood.
‘Group Four’ is one of my big picks from the album and is a trippy vocal affair featuring Fraser on vocals again. It’s a heavily distorted guitar led, bass heavy monster which totally changes direction and steps up a gear for the last 3 minutes of its spacey eight-minute journey.
The title track ‘Mezzanine’ is possibly one of the coolest 6 minutes of recorded music ever and builds into one of the filthiest, hypnotic grooves you will ever have the pleasure of listening to.
‘Inertia Creeps’ featuring the genius of 3D is a monumentally distorted masterpiece and just one absolutely massive track on every possible level.
I’ve said this a few times during my run down of albums, but every single track on this timeless package of live electronica is a certified winner, everything just fits perfectly. Not one weak or bad track can be found on here.
This album MUST be listened to loudly to truly appreciate the incredible level of deep, bass driven production held within.