From the many musical lives of artist Glenn Donaldson emerges The Reds, Pinks and Purples, a project that sifts out the purest elements of pop music and in the process chronicles the point of view of an assiduous San Francisco-based songwriter. The Reds, Pinks and Purples’ third album, called Uncommon Weather, is both an elusive portrait of San Francisco––during one of its fluctuations as an untenable place for musicians and artists––and also a self-portrait, however inverted, of a songwriter who has dispatched another treasured collection of timeless sounding DIY-pop songs.
Preceding the release of Uncommon Weather was the Reds, Pinks and Purples’ 2nd album, one of the record buying joys of 2020, You Might Be Happy Someday, and, earlier, their first proper full length Anxiety Art, a title that might nod to the classic Television Personalities song “Anxiety Block.” Donaldson’s music continuously reckons with the influence of Dan Treacy, whose own forays into drum-machines, echo, and reverb in the early 1990s is an important reference point for The Reds, Pinks and Purples’ musical template. Paul Weller, Robert Smith, and Sarah Records also come to mind. But, as important, Donaldson sees his projects as visual expressions too, often blurring the lines of records and physical art objects. They could just as well be “art multiples” as well as records. The pattern for Reds, Pinks and Purples’ records is to document San Francisco’s Inner Richmond district in photographs: the muted, pastel colours and unpeopled compositions unfold in a series of images that read like counter-melodies to Donaldson’s distinctive voice, a vocal tone that always complements the colours.
Self-recorded and mostly self-performed, Uncommon Weather features pinnacle versions of songs Donaldson has honed since the beginning of the project. The album arrives with grateful timing, quick on the heels of You Might Be Happy Someday, and alleviating, for a brief window at least, whatever it is that keeps us coming back to this elemental music. Donaldson imagines his listeners are just like himself: fascinated and addicted to the spiritual power of uncomplicated pop classics.
Released: April 2021
Label: Tough Love
Tracklist1. Don’t Ever Pray In the Church On My Street
2. I Hope I Never Fall In Love
3. The Biggest Fan
4. Uncommon Weather
5. A Kick in the Face (That’s Life)
6. I Wouldn’t Die for Anyone
7. I’m Sorry About Your Life
8. The Record Player and the Damage Done
9. Pictures of the World
10. Life at Parties
11. Sing Red Roses for Me
12. The Songs You Used to Write