Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ALBUM: The Silver City by Jeremy Messersmith

I included a track from Jeremy Messersmith's album The Silver City on our Sing The States post for Virginia, but I've been enjoying the record so much I need to give it its own post altogether.

It's a loose concept album inspired by the real Silver City of Minneapolis, where Messersmith calls home. He explores the city through the stories of those who travel to and from it each day, making their daily commutes seem a little more mystical in his re-telling. While it's not a strict concept album, the songs are surprisingly cohesive and the record plays with an almost story-like arc as we follow his characters in and out of the city. There's also a strong vehicular theme, with songs called "The Commuter", "The Skyway", and "Light Rail", and lyrics like "The funny thing about planes, cars, trucks and bullet-trains is they'll take you places, yeah". He seems to be fascinated by what brings his characters to the city literally as well as figuratively.

Stylistically, Messersmith often wears his influences on his sleeve, and you could almost match each song with who inspired it. "Dead End Job" is The Shins a la Oh, Inverted World, "Franklin Avenue" is spot-on Elliott Smith, "The Commuter" is fellow mid-western balladier Sufjan Stevens, and "Light Rail" is late-era Beatles. Despite this, his songwriting is solid and the songs are well crafted and thoughtfully executed. While he still has some growing to do stylistically, he's already accomplished that most elusive thing in music, and that is to write honest and affecting songs. I'd be willing to bet this is one of the best albums you missed last year.

Jeremy Messersmith - Franklin Avenue
from the album The Silver City (Amazon/iTunes)

Jeremy Messersmith - Miracles
from the album The Silver City (Amazon/iTunes)

1 comment:

bbond said...

I have listened to Miracles five times in a row now. Love it. It's got the right mix of pop-ish beat, continuous synthesized keyboard, and lyrics you can listen to or not and enjoy either way. And it says the word "miracles", which is a good word. Sadly, I cannot find the song on playlist.com