Jeremy Larson – They Reappear
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: March 15, 2011
They Reappear is a Jeremy Larson album, so it’s not unfair to expect subdued singer-songwriter fare. But to simply expect that, which again is totally fair, would be totally wrong. Because at every moment when you expect Larson to continue down the folky, sleepy, heartfelt path he very clearly knows well, he throws in intriguing elements like luscious string arrangements or shockingly interesting interludes. And in the case of “Night Terrors,” there are even detailed electronic atmospheres mimicking the unrest one might feel during such a traumatic event. I guess if you tried to write this off as being “just another” Jeremy Larson record, you’d only be partly right.
If there’s one thing you can say about someone like Larson, it’s that he is thoughtful. Each moment has been pored over and maximized to achieve just the right listener reaction. But sometimes the problem with that is what I just wrote – it feels like I’m being tugged. Perhaps that’s a moot point though, because within the context of a record like They Reappear, which is to say a record that’s sole purpose is to create a mood and then envelop its listener in that mood, my feelings of listener manipulation aren’t really bad but good. Simply because I’ve had a reaction during the symphonic swells of “Empire” or the schizophrenic piano fall-out of the ensuing (and aptly titled) “Provoke,” Larson could easily pat himself on the back.
And rightly so, because even within this mood that is well-defined, much in the same way an architect constructs a building, there are still moments of pure surprise. Often manifesting as one of the album’s many interludes (the all-string “Murmur/Exhale” and the jazzy violin/piano duet “Circadian Cues”), each connecting piece is still as important as the “meaty” tracks. In fact, as a self-professed hater of the interlude, I find They Reappear to be smart and economical in its usage of these in-between moments. They serve to connect disparate songs like the lonesome, ambling “Half Speed” and the jazzy, off-kilter “Doe Eyed Children.” And the result is an album that flows with such ease that it's near impossible to stop anywhere but at the end.
But it would also be unfair to not give Larson’s milky voice its proper praise. His manly tenor is the true glue of They Reappear, which I know is not some huge revelation, but it’s worth mentioning that he has truly expanded his range to create an album that never feels same-y. The vocal production (also done by Larson) gives his words depth and texture, and they are interwoven throughout the elegant backing instruments in such a way that simple feels pleasantly complex.
I guess by this point it also wouldn’t be a surprise to say that this album has clearly turned me into some sort of Larson superfan, even if I’m not completely ready to accept how easily he forces me to feel like an actual human with actual feelings. On standout “Bedside Manner,” he beautifully yearns, “Cause you have not seen / What it truly means / To be alive / Until you’ve seen yourself inside a dead man’s eyes.” Which, yeah, makes you think. It makes you think about a lot of things, actually. And damnit if Jeremy Larson hasn’t got me questioning all sorts of things again. And try as I may to fight his insistence of knowing thyself, I always wind up rapt in his words, and consequently, rapt in what they mean to me.
Recommended If You Like: MuthMath lite, Todd Martin, Dave Elkins' pipes, Anchor & Braille
This is by far one of the best albums I've ever bought. It's a complete album that flows beautifully - that's what I find so captivating and that's why I keep returning to it. I haven't stopped listening since it was released.