Jeremy Messersmith writes some mean power pop and his 2010 album, The Reluctant Graveyard, is all about death. Without the lyrics though, you’d probably think it was a lost gem from the sunshine pop of ’60’s. While the “Daydream Believer”-copping “Violet” may be the album’s lead single, it’s “Toussaint Grey…” that was my favorite of the album.
It serves as a break from the bombastic big band pop that covers the rest of the album. Forgoing the orchestra, the song relies solely on guitar and harmonica for its instrumental centerpoints. Messersmith adopts a Belle & Sebastian type inflection for “Toussaint Grey,” (with a Bob Dylan harmonica for good measure) and it works. Calming and relaxing, it doesn’t sound like a song about death at all, but then neither does the album.
You can listen to (and buy) the entire Reluctant Graveyard album from his bandcamp below.