This past week has been quite the week for me, and even though lots has happened, the biggest news in my life has been the release of a new song by Jeremy Messersmith. For those who know me, this is a huge deal, and for Jeremy himself, it’s also huge. This is his first album off of the label Glassnote Records, who are known for their work with bands like Mumford and Sons and Phoenix. With this huge step, Messersmith has definitely changed his sound a little, and as a huge fan of his previous work, I’m a bit unsure about that.
His new single, “Tourniquet,” definitely starts out like a classic Jeremy Messersmith tune. With its trickling guitar, floating vocals, and unique lyrics, it’s not hard to miss, but as the song develops, it quickly layers sounds. Instead of a nice string section included in the chorus, there’s some boppy drums, and soon the song sounds more radio friendly. Think a little more Death Cab for Cutie than Messersmith’s other work, and you’ll find yourself right in front of this song. I loved the intimacy of his past two albums The Silver City and The Reluctant Graveyard, and right now I’m just not finding it. I often feel like I’m being told a story when listening to The Reluctant Graveyard, but this song feels more like a proclamation. A proclamation of stepping away from the past, and moving forward.
That being said, I’m very excited to see what will happen with Messersmith’s new album. Even though I’m not totally loving the new boppy, radio-friendly sound, I have trust in my favorite artist and his decisions. I mean, he executed perfectly a tour using people’s homes as venues. I don’t think he’d leave his old sound completely behind and I’ve seen some proof of that in other new songs he’s played at recent shows.
Messersmith still has his geeky glasses and the guitar he bought at a pawn shop when he first started playing music. He still makes comments about Bach and little things he finds on the internet during concerts. The last time I got a chance to talk to him at a concert, he was surprised I knew who Brian Eno was. Though his sound has changed, I don’t think he will become a worse person for it. Sometimes we have to remember that our idols take big steps just like we do, and that they wouldn’t get mad at us when we decide to sign to a big record label.