First, disclaimer alert. The band Desmond Drive is fronted by a friend of mine, Bill Shaouy. So I’m a mite on the biased side. I think I’d be saying the same thing anyway, though. Because I really enjoy this album. It’s catchy, it’s fun, and it’s even a little bit wise. Nothing wrong with a little zen in your pop. That said, Desmond Drive was a breath of fresh air to me. While the roots are showing — influences of XTC and “Abbey Road” era Beatles are impossible to miss — the results seem fresh and original, and even contemporary in a retro sort of way. It’s nice to be reminded that pop doesn’t = shallow.
The tunes themselves are catchy pop, albeit a few degrees of mainstream center … hummable and, frankly, a joy to listen to. Thre lyrics are at time almost childlike: the song “Isn’t it a Wonder” it at first pass a simple catalog of ordinary things that suddenly seem miraculous. But upon a second listen, the joy of epiphany seems moving and filled with unabashed joy. “Your Name,” on the other hand, is a decidedly mature song, about enduring, spiritual love as opposed to the fire of infatuation that makes too many pop love songs seem banal. “My Tribe” is terrific, and expands the idea of relationship, a theme that recurs throughout the album, to found family, people made close by spirit rather than blood.
Give I Called I a listen. It’s fun, and its seeming simplicity hides surprises that reward repeat listenings. Besides, ow can you go wrong with an album that begins with a Greek Chorus?