The Reds, Pinks and Purples
Another year hurtling through space and time with The Reds, Pinks and Purples on the speakers and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Glenn leaves behind some of the gauzy bliss of Summer At Land’s End for a record that’s intrinsically tied to his home in San Francisco. His geography has long informed the artwork that accompanies RPP releases, and it’s certainly seeped into the songs, but on The Town That Cursed Your Name living in The Bay Area is at the forefront of the conversation. The city’s long history of art vs. commerce comes to a head in the seams and sinews of the album. SF’s long sunsetted ideal of an artistic cradle is replaced by looming tech futures, pervasive gentrification, and an arts community that is routinely being swept aside in favor of something more profitable. The very hallmarks that pushed the wave to the West in the first place are now an unsustainable fantasy they say. The jaws of capital are never still.
The sounds beneath the struggle for the survival of soul are still buoyed by Glenn’s love of ‘80s and ‘90s indie pop. The Homestead and Sarah stables take their fair share of the weight, while The Go-Betweens make a larger stake this time around. The smudges and rosy blurs of the last album are eaten away by more prominent fuzz, a bubbling irritation beneath Donaldson’s dreamy exterior. The bubblewrap snap of drums quickens its pace, while Glenn ponders failed labels, wanting more than minimum wage, and scuttling it all in frustration. The barriers to art are looming higher every day, but The Town That Cursed Your Name fizzes with a tension that proves the case for the album in 2023. Pulled between resistance and resignation, the former takes the edge. The cultural behemoth would grind us all, but there’s no reason not to leave a few teethmarks on the passageway into oblivion.
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