Brimming with an irrepressible sense of optimism; Niall Jackson – aka Swimmers Jackson’s – latest album Murmuration is a collection of shiny indie musings that celebrate the bittersweet nature of life’s experiences. The Dublin-born, London-based musician is fueled by the unwavering belief that things will work out on his latest record.
After moving to London in late 2015 without his fellow band mates, Jackson began writing, recording, and performing solo material. Named after the shapes that a flock of starlings make in the sky, Murmuration reflects the dips, dives, and ever-changing rhythms of life, on both a personal and universal scale.
The album opens with the bold trumpet intro of ‘Summer’s Herald’, followed by the hazy ‘Summer’s Here’. The extended “oohs” and charming lyrics paint a peaceful picture of summer evenings spent relaxing on Dublin’s canal.
If you’re a romantic cynic, ‘Believe’ might help to soften your outlook on love. It’s a lament about a troubled relationship, ultimately encouraging listeners to persevere through pain if it means staying together. The tender, echoing sounds on ‘Pain In The Heart’ extend this narrative, with Jackson resolving to make a home with the woman he loves, and stop walking alone “staring into street lights.” The mellow guitar sounds on ‘Bliss’ provide a salve for the aches Jackson has been singing about, whilst ‘Lose Myself’ is underscored by the desire to disappear and come back renewed by both exciting and frightening experiences.
The frantic vocal delivery on ‘Replaceable’ shakes things up, and the tempo and tone of ‘Life’s Short’ (Embrace It) does the same. Direct in its lyricism and briefer in duration; Jackson doesn’t waste a beat trying to get his message to seize the day across. The penultimate, Weezer-esque ‘Birthday Girl’ has a full band feel to it, with its indie rhythms and catchy, chant-worthy verses.
Even in the midst of exhaustion, Jackson finds time to muse about hope on closing track, ‘So Tired’. It’s slightly gloomier in sound, but it’s an apt sentiment to end this energetic offering on. On Murmuration, Jackson encourages listeners to open up, seize the day, and take risks in love; but it’s clear that he knows home really is where the heart is, and if you build it with the right person; wherever you are, it’s bliss.