I first came across Jeremy Larson's music back in 2007 by a stroke of luck. MySpace was still fairly popular at that point and I would receive numerous friend requests on there by musicians and bands looking to share their music. At first I tried to keep up, but quickly found for every quality band or artist, there were at least ten who needed to find a new career. Somehow, I ended up giving Larson's page a shot and was I ever glad I did. His music was wonderful DIY indie-pop, mostly on the slow side, but ever so melodic and such a great voice to go along with it. I instantly raved about him to family and friends and turned them on to his music as well.
I purchased Larson's self titled debut full length shortly after, and it still ranks as one of my favorite music releases of 2007. It also remains in heavy rotation, to this day I still revisit it often. I was fairly disappointed with the follow-up release however, 2008's "Salvation Club". Although there were still some strong songs present, it did not capture the magic, for me, of that first album.
I'd lost track of Jeremy's career until a Tweet on my Twitter feed mentioned he had a new album out. It piqued my interest to see what he was up to almost three years after "Salvation Club", and I am certainly glad I took the time to seek out his new release. "They Reappear" is a 48 minute song cycle, covering 16 tracks, with many songs running into each other, suddenly stopping to become a new one, and so on. It is very much meant to be listened to as a whole, as opposed to individual tracks. And Larson covers some heady ground lyrically here as well.
Best described as orchestral pop, the achievement that is "They Reappear" is made all the greater by the fact Larson plays just about everything on it. That includes every string part. On record, it may sound like there is an orchestra behind him. But in the studio, that was Jeremy Larson meticulously playing every part himself, then putting it all together into one cohesive orchestra of one. Mutemath's Darren King, who plays drums on four tracks, is the only other musician to make an appearance on the album.
You will hear many of the elements that made Larson's debut so delightful, but there are also different directions taken on this new work. Opener "Descending" eschews the piano that so often serves as the main background to his music. Underneath his vocal is a soft bed of strings and light drums, but the melody is so exquisite you won't notice anything missing. "Ricochet" then bursts in with piano, strings and pounding drums, with a chorus to die for. "Half Speed" which follows is another highlight, probably the most beautiful track on the album, an entrancing performance with acoustic guitars, strings and shuffling drums. The song is a reflection of remembrances around a relationship and it is stunning.
Interspersed throughout "They Reappear" are instrumental tracks, six in all, that often serve as intros or transitional pieces to other songs. They do not detract, instead they add, to the experience of the album as a 'whole'. "Night Terrors" serves its namesake well, nervous and disjointed at first, before the song seems to 'awake' to a relaxing comfort, but with just enough jitters still bubbling under the surface. "Circadian Cues" is an enchanting string and piano piece, as is "Remission".
As I mentioned, Larson tackles some heavy subjects here, but he has been a talented songwriter from the start, so there is no heavy handed clumsiness to his lyrics. "Day Residue" covers isolation and numbing ourselves from facing life's hardships, the more uptempo "Bedside Manner' uses a pleasant, poppy piano and drum combo but covers facing mortality and "Stirring" tackles the loss of a loved one.
Death, life, love, the good and bad of relationships, how we treat each other as humans, how we deal with getting through each day, many of life's struggles and hardships share a place with the happiness and inner peace that we all strive for on "They Reappear". It truly is an amazing piece of work from an artist deserving of your attention. Nothing frustrates me as a music fan more than to see truly talented musicians making great music in relative obscurity, while the type of rubbish that fills corporate radio airwaves sells millions. Take the time to let "They Reappear" sink in, then check out Jeremy Larson's previous work. If you look to be moved by pop music, you'll be thankful you did.
"They Reappear" was released independently as a digital download only March 15, 2011. There is the possibility of a physical release, possibly coupled with a live DVD, to follow at some point in the future.