I’ve written about Measure before, posting about two songs off their 2008 EP “Begin Again” – the eponymous track and “Closer”. At the time, I used similar language for both – hypnotic, singsong, haunting; heartfelt, touching, affecting. Since then, I’ve posted about Laura DiStasi, Measure’s lead singer, and I’ve also creepily made friends with her.

As part of the court order over keeping more than 100 yeards away from her at all times, I did managed to get an advance copy of Measure’s new album “The Air Inside Our Lungs”, due for release in the next couple of weeks.

Okay, fine, Laura asked if I’d like to review it.

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I agreed – but tentatively (she doesn’t know this yet!). What if I didn’t like it? And so, with my first listen of the first song, I feared the rest. “Somewhere Outside” was…nice. But..fuck – it was forgettably nice. A little bland. And so I panicked (now Laura knows. Sorry, Laura!).

However, once I got beyond the first song… Well, I can honestly say, the remaining 7 (5 originals, 1 cover and a reworked version of “Fireworks”, from “Begin Again”) is one of the most wonderful music releases of the last couple of years.

For your digestion, the song-by-song breakdown. What is interesting is that, after “Somewhere Outside”, I feel that Measure get back into what made “Begin Again” – that off-kilter, semi-electronic kick, beautifully supporting Laura’s voice.

Point of You – Starting from Laura’s voice, which is soon joined by a repetitive piano line to die for, that more familiar Measure beat is back, with lyrics to cut an ex-lover deeply…

This is your art
Already on display
When you don’t start
When you don’t walk away
What is your point of view
So what is the point of you
What is your point of view
What is your point?

Down Easy – A slow piano start that feels a little off-key, that voice and hiss kick in, until a fade-out at 0:47 and an almost-perfect introduction of a violin at 0:51 and the growth of a string section over the rest of the song; a song that swells, that ebbs and flows, over 4 minutes 13 seconds, ending with the most wonderful quiet fade-out, and lyrics to match. Lyrics that trailed an icy finger down my spine, if I’m being honest.

Hope can carry you so high
All those nights I missed you so much sleeping by your side
Planning for the fall, I didn’t feel the sun at all
So don’t you, don’t you wait

We’ve come so far
But maybe, maybe
This is just as far as you can take me
With no big alarm or siren sound, you’ll find the words and let me down
Go on, while no one is around, and say the words to let me down
Easy
Let me down easy.
Oh, go on, it’s easy
Let me down easy

Other Plans – Another piano start, but with layers of electronica on top, “Other Plans” is proof that Measure can branch out (I hate to say it, but it’s the song “Somewhere Outside” should have been…) Not as off-kilter as the previous songs (or “Begin Again”), it’s as near to poppy as Measure have gotten – if poppy means a very, very vague tempo lift in a song which is utterly heartbreaking, when you see the person you loved love someone else…

I found out, but not from you
I found out, and so it’s true
But you play it so cool
She’s just someone you met
Well go on pal, put it there
You know, I’m just someone you’ll learn to forget

And love turns into friends, who always make other plans
the months pass by themselves, while you hang out with someone else

So, where are all my friends, and when were they all making plans
To leave me by myself, while everyone’s with someone else
And how’d it come to this
Disposing of the evidence and sitting by myself
You gave your heart to someone else

Well, as near to poppy until you get to the UTTERLY wonderful I Want To Know You – Another step away from the off-kilter, “I Want To Know You” is a happy Measure song, and is what truly perfect music should sound like. A piano and guitar start that has a somewhat anthemic feel to it of sorts, a backbeat which will leave your foot tapping, and a wonderful guitar line at 0:52, over the course of 4 minutes, “I Want To Know You” swells larger and larger (wait for 1:42), with lyrics that are, gasp, happy. Ish. And vaguely stalkerish.

There she goes
Walking home
Heels click click click on the pavement I want to know you
To the beat of something familiar coming through your headphones

I’m good with words
So what sounds like something I’d say first
How ’bout roll down both of the windows so I can see you
While you scream at the top of your lungs thinking no one can hear

I’ll say oh oh oh I want to know you
Always come and go oh oh
And I just see you
That when you go oh oh
I want to know oh oh
Where you go oh oh oh oh

Run – After a pair of songs bringing us outside of our typical expectation of Measure, “Run” brings us crashing back to that vaguely unsettling feel to an extent, but shows growth – a tieing together of “Begin Again” and the earlier songs on the new album with the anthemic qualities of “Other Plans” and “I Want To Know You”. A heavier bass line than previous, “Run” slowly, slowly pounds its way through you…

I want to run this city
Kiss the last year behind
And when I run this city
There’s be no room for you in my mind
I’ll run around this city
Turn it upside down in my mind
And when I run this city
There’ll be no room for you

Make You Love Me – Perhaps my most played song of the last 12 months, Measure cover Slowrunners’ “Make You Love Me”, and in doing so, make it theirs. I’m not sure I can ever return to the original, as this offbeat love song leaves your foot tapping and a whistful smile on your face, telling a story of what happens when you get what you’ve always wanted (hint: it goes to shit and you look to what’s next…). A gorgeous guitar line every time the chorus kicks in just MAKES this song.

When you choose me
You start to lose me
When I get you
I start to regret you
When we’re lovers
It’s almost over
You can hear my heart
In the dark
Like a bird, singing
All I wanna
do is make you love me

When I’ve used up
The best you
And I’m breaking myself against
The next you
I’ll think of
Your sweet and true love
It’s another inner monologue I’ve got to ignore
But all I wanna do is make you love me
All I wanna do is make you love me
All I wanna do is make you love me
All I wanna do is make you love me

Fireworks – And finally, Measure end where they begin, reworking “Fireworks” from the “Begin Again” EP. A return to the off-centre feel of the earlier songs, an electronic hiss intermingling throughout, layers of instruments, and THAT voice, building and building and building, through a song about how we can so easily lie to ourselves and to the ones we love.

Clean it up
So much for afterglow
We are flesh and bones and victims of everything
You whisper that this is so incredible
Too bad we’re not responsible for what we say
When our eyes aren’t open

And fireworks fall like shooting stars, so I wish
Be aware of me, on burnt up chemistry
All flash and noise, so I close my eyes and say
Come on and fill me up with something real or something brave or something
Come on and fill me up

However, when listening to both versions of “Fireworks” side-by-side, the true change of Measure is revealed: throughout “The Air Inside Our Lungs”, Measure separate out Laura DiStasi’s voice and the beauty of their electronica and instrument lines; whereas once the voice was layered under the music, the new album pulls them apart, gives them both freedom, and simply allows them to recombine.

And recombine they do.

Perfectly.

Into what will be one of THE albums of 2012.

GO AND PRE-ORDER IT NOW!

www: Measure’s offical website, MySpace, Facebook Page and Twitter. But seriously, go and buy the new album NOW!