Deep amidst San Francisco’s Richmond neighborhood misty air and washed-out pastel blocks, Glenn Donaldson has been diligently creating minor masterpieces with rudimentary home technology for some time now. With The Reds, Pinks & Purples, Donaldson has finally created a vivid reflection of this dreary scene. You Might be Happy Someday is an oblique strand of SF outer-avenue cloud cover that stretches across the Atlantic to the grey docks of Bristol as captured in Sarah Records’ fetishized insert photos.
Despite the deceptively congenial presentation, Happy is often a heavy record. After a litany of Donaldson’s past iterations (from experimental abstraction to post-punk and pop), The Reds, Pinks & Purples is Glenn D’s most personal project. Balanced awkwardly atop almost ironically upbeat jangles and rhythms Mitch Easter might have captured on his reel-to-reel are prime cuts of bummer pop. Almost every track is written in second person, creating a feeling of overheard private inner conversations-on-repeat: soft-lob criticisms, supportive friend advice and embarrassing confessions, You Might be Happy Someday is a smeared window into the (kindly) cynical thoughts of a romantic misanthrope.
Like the work of other U.S. depresso-pop purveyors East River Pipe, The Reds, Pinks & Purples’ mini-album is the kind of record that is both unsettling and comforting. When you’re four drinks deep and you’ve worn your Smiths records out, You Might Be Happy Someday is on deck to have wine spilled on it while you dance alone in the kitchen.