26 September 2023

Slow Torture of an Hourly Wage

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Reds, Pinks & Purples, Independent/Bandcamp 2022.

I’ve only just come across singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, Glenn Donaldson from San Francisco with this three track EP but, a quick search on Bandcamp suggests that he’s been around for some time and that he’s quite prolific.

Glenn, under the Reds, Pinks & Purples banner, produces a thinking-person’s indie-pop with a series of insightful songs and albums that explore themes about the many struggles and dilemmas that we all face as part of everyday living.

The title track sums up the feelings that many have confronted about coping with another eight-hour day that is mind numbingly monotonous.

We plod on acutely aware of our life drifting by.

Glenn’s album covers are colourful pastel pictures of beauty, but his songs are often tinged with sadness, misunderstanding and boredom.

The music is likewise light and pastel but the more you listen you feel the melancholy that sits just below the surface.

This underlying ennui is evident in the album titles: Slow Torture of an Hourly Wage (2022), Summer at Land’s End (2022), Uncommon Weather (2021), You Might Be Happy Someday (2020), Anxiety Art (2018-19).

Some of the interesting song titles that encourage you to have a listen such as Upside Down in an Empty Room (from Summer at Land’s End), Don’t Ever Pray In The Church on My Street and I Wouldn’t Die For Anyone (from Uncommon Weather).

Apparently, Glenn Donaldson pretty well does everything on these albums, writes, records, and produces, and the production values are good.

Anxiety Art is an album that was recorded over a couple of years mostly in his kitchen and so it is a little more lo-fi than the other albums.

However, the quality is still good and songs are excellent.

Slow Torture of an Hourly Wage is beguiling because of its mellow easy listening, almost singalong style but there’s a lyrical depth that rewards careful attention.

Glenn Donaldson draws us into his world through clever songs that question our mundane existence.

It’s a gentle questioning rather than an interrogation. A quizzing with raised eyebrow.

Slow Torture of an Hourly Wage is a good way of getting into his music.

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