Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jeremy Messersmith - The Reluctant Graveyard

Songs about death and dying aren't really covered by indie pop artists, yet Minnesota's own Jeremy Messersmith has complied an entire album's worth on the subject. From undaunted numbers about death like "John the Determinist," with pulsing strings and narration like "all we are is ticks and tocks/seconds in a pocket watch" to the captivating depressed number of "Repo Man," whom nobody weeps for, Messersmith explores the spectrum of the enigmatic subject of death with unbelievable range and focus.

Lazy Bones starts this introspective album off unexpectedly poppy and excited, with the impressive "Dillinger Eyes" following suit with a snappy 60's guitar hook and fast drum kicks. The radio-shared "Violet!" which despite its slight melancholy tone, remains effulgent, romping on and urging one to overcome injustices.

But even though more than half of this record is bright and melodic, a syncopated beat empirically placed in the third and dark track "Organ Donor" alongside slow strings sets an abstemious yet haunting tone that lingers, unmasking the macabre nature of the other tracks. The nice-yet-spooky theme culminates in "Deathbed Salesman," a song chorusing living life to the fullest and finding someone to love while selling you your coffin extrinsically during the verses. All in all, Messersmith's songwriting has evolved skillfully, shaping an album full of upbeat songs with 60's flair into something brilliant.

The Reluctant Graveyard releases today, May 4th, and can be listened to and purchased here.

No comments: