If I hadn’t seen the above photo, taken by Anna Selle, I would not believe you if you told me that Mess only had four members. It’s damn near impossible to believe that this Kansas City quartet is responsible for a sound as robust as they are; each member brings what sounds like a lifetime of talent and craftsmanship into their work, and it’s that prowess that has allowed them to share the stage with acts like Pianos Become The Teeth, Turnover, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, and more. tl;dr the music that comes from Mess is anything but.

For example, on “Cave” the band delivers swollen and orchestral indie-rock paired with a voice that is emotionally harrowing by way of subtlety. It’s often a quiet kind of hurt that doesn’t fill the room with a thunderous roar or vivid color, opting instead to fill the room with dense fog and tension that can be felt across the globe. The sting that radiates from Gliesman’s vocals feels like it’s been forced through the cracks in her permanently clenched teeth as she sings, “Don’t you think it’s time to call it off? We could just sleep here in the parking lot. Don’t you think you’re better off painted over the sidewalk?

When asked about the song, writer/vocalist Allison Gliesman says, “Cave is a snapshot of a toxic relationship. It was written in a tense headspace, characterized by the helpless feelings paired with watching someone you love be controlled.”

Listen below.


Learning How to Talk is expected to be out this Fall.