Swimmers Jackson: Murmuration review – authentic album strikes easy balance between laidback and spirited

Fri, May 8, 2020, 05:00

   
  

Album:
Murmuration

Artist:
Swimmers Jackson

Label:
Wonky Karousel Records

Genre:
Singer / Songwriter

A three-piece band became a solo project when Niall Jackson relocated to London a few years ago. The Dubliner’s debut album is certainly not lacking in charm or dynamics despite being down two members. If anything, these are more clearly-defined glimpses into a thirtysomething’s life, with observations drawn from both cities.

There are references to “drinking cans and bottles of wine” along the canal on a sunny Dublin day (Summer’s Here), while So Tired contrasts the grind of working a day-job at Christmas with a sweet declaration of devotion.

Jackson is best known as the bassist of underrated indie-rock band Bouts, but his work as Swimmers Jackson sees him wield an acoustic guitar for most of these songs. For the most part it works, considering the majority are lo-fi, intimate numbers that sound clearly influenced by the likes of Elliott Smith (Believe, the melancholy Pain in the Heart).

It’s not all soul-baring contemplation; the gentle shuffle of Bliss evokes 1960s pop with the addition of chintzy organ, and the tracklist picks up pace as it progresses, with Birthday Girl swinging headlong into a grungy indiepop riff that evokes Weezer.

More of that upbeat material would have been nice to hear, but this short album strikes an easy balance between laidback and spirited while maintaining a sense of authenticity at every turn.

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