I wouldn’t say I love all music that comes out of the Twin Cities, but I love a lot of it. And even if there is something I don’t like, I try to keep track of it, and tend to cheer it on anyway.
In this case, I caught Jeremy Messersmith one night at the Cedar and he’s been on the radar ever since. I liked his lo-fi sound and some of his lyrics were pretty clever. His first album, The Alcatraz Kid, demonstrates both of these qualities pretty well.
Messersmith’s new album, The Silver City, certainly includes pieces cut from the same cloth but (to continue with the upholstery metaphor) covers something pretty different.
To begin with local music darling Dan Wilson produced The Silver City. Apropos, as the beginning of Messersmith’s “Love You To Pieces” sounds so similar to [Dan Wilson’s former group] Semisonic’s “In Another Life,” that I actually found myself singing the words of one to the music of the other.
Wilson has some serious pop sensibilities, a fact he has proven time and again with his production work [Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way and Mike Doughty’s Haughty Melodic and Golden Delicious, just to name a few].
But on The Silver City, the pop is a little too perfect. The sound is full, the tunes are catchy, and Messersmith’s voice is clear and calm. Much of Messersmith’s slightly dark material [see Novocain or Scientists on The Alcatraz Kid] is gone. Maybe Messersmith just got happy. Ho hum. But thankfully, I am a resident of the fine city alluded to on a number of tracks on the record.
In addition to Wilson’s production, The Silver City’s Twin Cities tributes include a cover of The Replacements’ “Skyway,” and Messersmith’s tunes “Franklin Avenue,” and “Light Rail,” the latter of which is despicably catchy.
So if you’re looking for something new and different or something complex, a “think piece” if you will, this probably isn’t the album for you. But if you’re a Minneapolitan (Or St. Paulitan? Is that what they’re called?) that is looking for a fun, catchy, disc to bring on a picnic or to play in your car on a sunny autumn day, then you might want to give The Silver City a try.
You can listen to selections from The Silver City here.
I wanted to include a sample of the Semisonic song, but YouTube only gave me 12 pages of “how to play Closing Time” videos, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.