steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Desmond Reed

"10 Acoustic Demos" CDR

Series Two Records

Genre: acoustic pop, singer / songwriter, indie pop

Melrose, MA

Jan 20 2009

I realize the prospect of a collection of acoustic demos may make some readers wary, as using the "demo" label is often merely an excuse for proliferating underdeveloped songs. But these bare-boned melodic tidbits, all of which fall between two and three minutes, are perfectly suited to DIY label Series Two, and Reed carries them out with formidable consistency and charm.

The key to these tracks is their succinctness. Each song has a catchy melody, and lasts just long enough to get the point across. Highlights include sticky "No More Room," swooping "Neat," and Joe Jackson-esque "Summer Vacation." Though limited mostly to guitar and vocals, the tracks are successful due to Reed's solid delivery - his lush voice is perfectly suited to this context. He is also very easy to understand and, as a result, enjoy; the cutesy lyrics of "Guinea Pigs," for example, would make the perfect song for a coffeehouse performance.

One added bonus of such a bare approach is that the listener is left to freely imagine the fuller songs that could be designed based on these musical sketches. It would be interesting to see what Desmond Reed could pull off given a full band and a professional production studio; although, it is possible that such resources might only undermine the quaint charm of his music. For now, 10 Acoustic Demos is an excellent glimpse at Reed's talent for writing concise, infectious pop songs.

desmond reed's myspace


youuuuuuuutube!: "neat" live

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, 300 copies, distributed by the label, released Aug 26, 2008]