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    Thursday, August 09, 2007

    Feeling the bright sunshine all around me

    When we last saw Desmond Reed a few months ago, he was a man in a bedroom. He’s still a man in a bedroom, but now he also has a just-released EP on WeePOP! Records. It’s no surprise that good things are coming his way, because his recent output continues to be remarkably good. Much of it's happily on pace with his most beloved song, “Guinea Pigs.” In the case of one track, “Window Shopping,” it may be even better. His signature style, lo-fi indoor-pop that makes ordinary, mundane life sound magical, is still firmly in place. Lately though, he’s been sounding even more confident, adding little tweaks and stylistic tics to the mix.

    On “Dizzy,” Reed plumbs fresh emotional depths, discussing love at a charmingly askew angle: “I’m sick to my stomach and I’m feeling kind of dizzy/ I think I’ll feel better if I just drink something fizzy.” He also sprinkles in some seeming non-sequiturs that are too wonderful to overlook: “Salty-lamacchia is the biggest name in baseball” and “College taught me all about the frozen food industry.” But every time it edges toward cuteness, Reed edges the subject back to something a little graver: “You’re the devil on my shoulder/ I’m getting older because the weather’s getting colder.” It's first love as physical malady.

    But it’s “Window Shopping” that may rank as his best yet. It’s an anthem for a suburban teenager that turns an average mallrat into an indie Don Quixote. In a double-time cadence like a bolt of inspiration, he sings that “Sometimes, I just need a break/ So I sit on the bench by the fountain and pretend it’s a lake/ Pretend that I’m outside feeling the bright sunshine.” It might feel like a throwaway line at first, but on further examination, it becomes extremely sad. Instead of actually going outside, leaving the carefully arranged rows of recycled-air stores behind, he just dreams about doing it. At least it's good to know he still has an island of comfort in the cruel commercial ocean: “ [I’ll] buy some Sbarro’s pizza/ But only one piece of cheese-ah/ I’m being responsible!” Who knows? Maybe he’s saving up his money to leave the bedroom for the eventual world tour.

    * MP3: "Window Shopping" - Desmond Reed
    * MP3: "Dizzy" - Desmond Reed
    * MySpace: Desmond Reed
    * Previously: Just a really happy guy: Desmond Reed MP3s

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