[15 February 2009]
It’s difficult to talk about Peasant (aka Damien DeRose) without mentioning Elliot Smith. This is unfortunate, because On the Ground shows that DeRose has too much range and honesty to be cast off as a mere sound-a-like. His debut album consists of 13 wispy comfort tunes, all of which sit at about 2-and-½ minutes long. The album whizzes by, but each track has a genuine and insular feel to it, giving DeRose the benefit of the doubt. But there’s simply no way of getting around the layered harmonies and complex chord changes—it’s oddly familiar. The artist has seen some success, getting his song “Raise Today” on network TV, and he plans to release a double album later this year that promises to transcend the “indie-pop” label. I will certainly listen to that, but for now I’ll just sit here and wait.