Heart Murmurs is the first UK album release from Jeremy Messersmith, released 11th May on Glassnote Records. On Heart Murmurs, Messersmith can break your heart one minute, and then put those fragile pieces back together again the next. The Minneapolis singer/songwriter candidly chronicles the ups and downs of modern relationships, all within the simple but striking constructs of his indelible, poignant pop songs.
After self-releasing his first three albums to increasing critical acclaim and growing audiences across north America, Messersmith signed to Glassnote Records (US label of Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, Daughter, Two Door Cinema Club, Foy Vance & Chvrches) last year. Heart Murmurs was written and recorded in Minneapolis, with production overseen by Messersmith’s longtime musical partner Andy Thompson, along with Ben Allen (GIVERS, Animal Collective) and a talented host of Twin Cities musicians.
Heart Murmurs is a bold, self-assured artistic statement by a musician who crafts unforgettable songs packed with equal parts ecstasy and grief. Messersmith drew inspiration from the Magnetic Fields’ brilliant magnum opus, 69 Love Songs, while also realizing that more than enough pop songs about love have already been written. But Heart Murmurs provides a fresh new twist on those familiar themes of affection and anguish, with an emotional vulnerability that will resonate with anyone who has ever once shared their heart with another.
The record bursts out of the gates with the swelling, exultant hooks of It’s Only Dancing and the pulsating Tourniquet, getting the listener’s attention straight from the start and never relinquishing it throughout the entirety of the perfectly paced album. And while these songs typically feature buoyant, effortlessly catchy melodies, the lyrics themselves explore much darker themes, providing a brooding, mercurial contrast to the tracks upbeat arrangements.
The hooks throughout Heart Murmurs are indeed quite massive and relentlessly catchy, with acoustic and electric guitars blending elegantly with spiraling string arrangements and other sonic flourishes. It’s the sound of an artist not afraid to go big in order to be heard, while also packing plenty of evocative substance within these soaring pop songs as well.
On the mournful Bridges, Messersmith sings plaintively, “Even though I love you, I break you like a promise,” touching on a theme that courses through much of the record – hurting the ones you love the most despite, or perhaps because of, your best intentions. Witness Ghost’s self-lacerating couplets “If there’s a line I’ll cross it, no lesson will I learn. Even if I’m standing on it, no bridge that I won’t burn.”
But there is hope involved in those stark revelations as well, with characters working through past and present mistakes in order to finally become worthy of the love they have around them. These are heady, substantial ideas to inject into pop songs, but the tracks never become bogged down by the weight of the subject matter due to Messersmith’s vibrant arrangements, and the deft production of Thompson and Allen.
Jeremy Messersmith’s first album for Glassnote continues the consistent rise of his burgeoning career while confidently adding to an already impressive back catalogue filled with subtle hits just waiting to be discovered by a wider audience. Named an Artist to Watch in 2014 by TIME Magazine and a US Public Radio favourite – recently featured in NPR’s Heavy Rotation program – Jeremy Messersmith’s first album for Glassnote should accelerate the upward arc of his blossoming career.