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RELEASE DATE 12th APRIL 2024
|White LP –
The cinema of the scenes as told from the heart and spirit of the omniscient narrator shines through the awe-inspiring oeuvre of Glenn Donaldson’s canonical titan that is The Reds, Pinks & Purples. The storied and esoteric histories of every underserved underdog becomes immortalized in records and poignantly penned paeans that evoke the eras and underachievers that became synonymous with their own respective corresponding localized micro-movements. Donaldson channels that psychic spirit and journeyman earned wisdom to provide contemporary era rock operas that eulogize tales of infinitely influential rises and falls. Crystalizing the tragic self-celebrating kingdoms of fortunate failures, false heroes, music press deities of limitless deceit, hometown dive gods and humanity in the grips of all its romanticized wonder and woe — the latest sortie of the sensational and spectacular takes aim at the threads of hope and an untethered abandon into the intimacy and dualities of idolatry and isolation with Unwishing Well.
Ever since its emergence from the harried late 2010s — The Reds, Pinks & Purples have become the absolute encapsulation of Donaldson’s own proliferation and prestige. From a musical legacy that chronicles a long list of minor successes and major tragedies; Glenn distils the timelines of distinction from yesterday, today, tomorrow and whatever may be into a musical phenomenon that embodies something more than all of its analogous inspirations. Beyond the clamour about the retro cult pop artistic allusions and tropes that can be found in those spirit expanding kaleidoscope chord chimes; Donaldson takes you on a guided tour through the San Francisco underground movements that would have been, could have been or perhaps never were at all from the start. The Reds, Pinks & Purples’ coveted catalogue inadvertently, consciously or unconsciously, offers an authorized and anonymous history of imperfect and ambitious debutantes, dilettantes, auteurs, et al. The lauded visionaries whose volition informed the big money touring stage headliners, but only enjoyed a fleeting jaunt through the glorious corporate clad carnival canopies from the touring circuit routes and tech funded festival tent tabernacles. Unwishing Well is a eulogy for the buzz bands that crashed, the wily one hit wizards, and omnipresent (and often uninspired) eternal aesthetes who work the lucrative outlets of licensing media markets.
Glenn pulls no punches with the promiscuity of the pop machines and their exploited propped up brand ambassadors on the cutting “Your Worst Song is Your Greatest Hit” that tangles with the lumbering and inescapable creatives and careerist trajectories that trade in boardroom playbooks and verticals. Expressions and influencers break out into the collective commissaries of commerce exhibitionism on “Public Art”, to auditing the forums of fandom that pertain to developed affinities and the roads to rabid infatuation with the obsessive in earnest, “Learning to Love a Band”.
And while the Glenn spins many yarns on the under-appreciated secret histories of DIY, Unwishing Well offers cathartic hymns of modern malaise. Sighing in lamentation of regressive trends, “What’s Going on with Ordinary People” balks with concern over contemporary states of devolution, while “Faith in Daydreaming Youth” questions what vestiges of hope and valour can be found in the new vanguards of political bodies that govern the world’s sovereign daydream nations. The dustbins of dastardly discontinuity are imbued with desire and grief on the dramatist tragedy of “Dead Stars in Your Eyes”, to basking in the discarded ditches of the damned below in voids of obscurity on “Nothing Between the Lines at All”. The human addiction to languishing in anguish, misery and negativity tussles, tosses and turns on “We Only Hear the Bad Things People Say”, the penultimate ode to inherent human infallibility as Donaldson rides the audience out into the gilded sunset glow of “Goodbye Bobby”.
The central set piece of Unwishing Well revolves around the title track that wrestles with wellness and wishes tempered by the sobering reality of ultra pragmatic scepticism. Donaldson shows the audience where the dream falls short, an indictment on the fickleness of wants and the life/work/art balances of making it all work. It’s the group that never makes it, the idea that never gets off the ground, the recognition that never arrives, the raise that is never awarded, nor the promotion to the next ladder rung that remains laughably inaccessible. Glenn has the gift of bridging the divide between the hunger artist, their adoring cult public and the common threads that connect these local and global communities through the humanist cause of collective commiseration.
As increasingly found in the continued adventures of The Reds, Pinks and Purples canon — Glenn circles the drain of surrendering to unabashed sentimentality in passions worthy of being showcased as the top headlining spot that your favourite revered then later reviled pop act never even had the chance to claim or ascend. Unwishing Well uplifts and uproots the undercurrents that carry the commonalities between the spectators and the spectacles. Donaldson pays homage in heart to everything and everyone that never got their due or to the lucky ones that made the grade, but paid an ultimate price. The cycle of these pop vignettes depict successes and failures in the same sentences, existing within the same stanzas, where the stories of making it and breaking it operate as events that live on different sides of the same coin. Unwishing Well is a reflection of us, the icons we adore, the Adonises we worship, the false prophets that proselytize the edicts from theses cults of personality, the fallouts, the third acts and the artistic fabrics that spool these sub-sects of artful dodgers into the stuff of legend.
- What’s Going on with Ordinary people
- Learning to Love a Band
- Unwishing Well
- Faith in Daydreaming Youth
- Your Worst Song is Your Greatest Hit
- Dead Stars in your Eyes
- Nothing Between the Lines at all
- Public Art
- We Only Hear the Bad Things People Say
- Goodbye Bobby