The irresistible charm of the arrangements and vocals on Peasant's full-length On The Ground, released by Paper Garden Records, has folk-pop elegance and unexpected detailing. The songs of love and loss are genuinely stated. Warm and dreamy vocal harmonies are delicately entwined with inventive composition. It is seductive and, yes, beautiful.
Peasant’s music is like the Sirens persuasively calling from the distance. The sounds are muted as if to hold in feelings. And so Peasant takes us on his odyssey appropriately, starting with the beautiful “The Wind” / I am speaking for the wind / blowing on my door / and it’s saying words I know / but in a different order /. The harmonica breathes in between verses as if to pause and think. Ending with stunning harmonies of / I am you / I am you…...
The random movements of the wind are unpredictable, and so are Peasant’s recording sensibilities. The guitar leads that glisten, snapping, organ, haunting lead-in harpsichord in “Birds”, the offbeat clanking of percussion in the song “Missing All Of You,” or the thump-strum of the guitar in “On The Ground.”
Peasant articulates the stages of falling in love, breaking up, confusion, loss, and the reassessment of moving on. The words expressed in the song “On The Ground” sum it up / Actually, I don’t believe a word I tell myself / we woke up / and we broke up / thinking all the time that it was easy…. Well it’s not.
In the gorgeous “Not Your Savior” the continuous guitar strums stop to exhale / where do we go from here / and where are we now /. The added pulsating heartbeat of the soft bass spaced in a loop, is striking in the song “Raise Today.” The lyrics linger and question/everything’s dancing around / a circle that I cannot see / what is there missing from me / that I see in you / and ending with / just trying to stay on the ground /.
The yearning for lost love in the song “Those Days” expresses the enduring seduction of imagination. His voice cries out / you were my lover, for now, just another / those days are gone /. The killer chorus rises with assertion / I don’t know who you think we are / you can miss this nearly healing scar /…and ends with a lingering note like a foghorn in the distance.
All fourteen tracks are created as a self-catharsis of sorts. Peasant might be hurt but not ready to drown in his tears. Through his songs, he will sort everything out and come back standing.
And stand he does, as a singer-songwriter, Damien DeRose's phrasing, and recordings are deliberate and skillfully directed. With On the Ground, Peasant has seamlessly assembled a collection of songs with the enduring quality of giving.