Sunday, August 9, 2009
The End 7" Single - Peasant
The End 7"
Paper Garden Records.
SCQ Rating: 78%
Looking back, one of my greatest regrets of 2008 is missing Peasant’s beautiful debut, On the Ground, which I finally discovered this past spring. That full-length was loaded with bittersweet acoustic odes that orbited young songwriter Damien Derose’s soulful voice and, had I heard it earlier, On the Ground would’ve featured prominently on my Top Twenty Albums of 2008. Well, would’ve, could’ve. At least I’m listening now… and right in time; with Derose’s follow-up, Shady Retreat, arriving early 2010, Paper Garden Records has dropped a taste of what’s to come in the form of The End 7” single.
Although the singer-songwriter guild is chocked full of acoustic strum-sters, ‘The End’ – from its first notes – is undoubtedly Peasant, an ownership that proves how instinctive and powerful of a mark his debut left. Here Derose’s strums are countered by minor-key finger-picking, creating a warm unrest that allows the Doylestown native to inquire “Are you alone tonight?”. Another standstill romance, maybe, but where Derose once sang about moving on with ‘Those Days’, he’s now caught up in another polarized relationship, one that hardly reflects the closure of its title. With little time to reflect, we’re tossed into ‘Thinking’, a piano-led stream-of-conscious which picks up the pace and hugs reasoning like that of someone on the defensive. Man, have I missed this guy…
After those teases of Shady Retreat, this 7” closes with a live rendition of ‘The End’ courtesy of Daytrotter. While its arrangement doesn’t differ much from the studio version (albeit being stripped down), hearing Derose’s vocals should remind listeners how genuinely he carries these songs… like chips on his shoulder, arrows to his heart. As with the late Elliott Smith, Derose arms his compositions with a sense of place and narrative to feed his constant yet understated drama. Available September 1st through Paper Garden Records, this is something worth getting excited about. Catch up on Peasant here or pre-order this 7” here.