Monday, October 31, 2022

Albums of the Year # 55 The Reds, Pinks & Purples - Summer at Land's End



San Francisco's Glenn Donaldson is a man who definitely knows where he wants to be. In England in The Eighties. Among those gorgeous, evocative Felt, Smiths, Sarah records and C-86. The sound and feeling of being a teenager or moving into your early twenties. Falling in and out of love, experiencing those brief and poignant moments which meant and still mean so much decades later.

Donaldson is more advanced in years than that but he still understands the importance of those feelings. He's been putting out records for the best part of twenty years under various guises, The Skygreen Leopards and The Blithe Sons among them.

He's been operating as Reds, Pinks and Blues on a highly prolific basis for the last few years. Their latest Summer at Land's End is the best I've heard. Warm and lonely at one and the same time. Establishing the mood immediately with opening track Don't Come Home Too Soon which neatly purloins some of Morrissey and The Smiths deft lyrical and melodic turns. 

The album proceeds from there. Donaldson tries to be happy, but for the most point can't sustain the joy. It's romanticism writ large. The title track, a purely instrumental track is particularly yearning and moving moment halfway through the once more underpinned by Marr and Morrissey's vision.

Things never quite become bleak. The rockbed of light, jangling guitars are sustained throughout. 'Walking in the rain, hoping it won't stop'. Full of the glory of the natural world. As I said it's the best record I've heard of his under this particular banner. Taking highly familiar lyrical and melodic tropes but making a highly personal statement at one and the same time. Made to measure for Smiths, Felt, Aztec Camera, Go Betweens, R.E.M. and Belle & Sebastian fans but with plenty of its own spark. An altogether wonderful record.

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