steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"On the Ground" CD

Paper Garden Records

Genre: singer / songwriter, folk pop

Michigan, USA

July 2009

Peasant's Damien DeRose brings earnest charm and delightfully melodic composition to the table, setting him gleefully apart from many similar attempts at quaint, folky singer/songwriter fare. On the Ground is a solid although admittedly non-groundbreaking record, populated with sweet pop songs that will gradually get you humming along.

Among this record's hefty thirteen tracks one encounters several keepers. "Stop For Her," for example, is a delightful summer evening stroll of a pop song, serving up sweet love lyrics all wrapped up in joyful guitar weaves. And "You Don't Know" is a subtle toe-tapper with one of the disc's most infectious melodies. Also memorable are the harpsichord strokes of "Birds" and the Damon Gough-like "Exposure," both two of this record's more unconventional songs, as well as delicate closer "Impeccable Manners." DeRose's voice accomplishes Elliot Smith's lush tunefulness sans the haunted vulnerability. At times, the similarities are almost entirely absent, especially on the album's peppier portions ("The Wind," "We're Good"). Still, much of the record will remind you, at least superficially, of Smith's signature sound.

Despite the fact that much of On the Ground is little more than acoustic guitar and vocals, it remains an assuredly delightful and predominantly engaging folk record. Lovers of quaint pop songs will likely be impressed.

peasant's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]