Mike Desmond is the creative mind behind Des, who hails from Long Island and used to be part of the indie rock band Gabriel the Marine (2008-2014). Eighty Six is his solo debut EP, which was produced by Chad Copelin (Christina Perry, Third Eye Blind) and has the buoyant sound to the likes of Capital Cities and Foster The People.
Within first seconds, the rippling percussions and seismic synths lures you in immediately as Des reassures “Don’t you worry about me.” But the song is not an idyllic, sugarcoated optimism – “Don’t You Worry” is the admittance that Des has as many problems as you do and while he is not head-over-toes about them, he is fine. This song may as well have been titled “The Official Fine Anthem For Adults.” Despite the buoyancy of the track, there is an undeniable cheerful unhappiness present in it that makes it both exquisite and therapeutic.
Most of Des’ songs are a compilation of crisp and intimate production that highlights the vulnerability, strengths, and daily struggles any “adulting” being can relate. In “Someone,” he taps into our desire to recapture happiness. “I’m still trying to get back to a time that I was happy with myself.” Yearning for the company of someone who can listen to us and revive the naïve happiness we used to have, “Someone” speaks to our furtive hope for a person who can fill our existential gap.
In “Giving Up,” he goes against logic and indulges in the self-saboteuristic tendency to hold onto someone who is clearly not good for him. “You’re not the person I thought who I thought / But you’re the one that I need.” With beats that swell in grand magnitude, Des navigates through a frictional relationship where the cons clearly outweigh the pros but he can’t help himself. The festive ambiance electrifies you with the unapologetic irrationalism that we all practice.
Des wraps up Eighty Six with a folksy and slightly psychedelic track “Dying Breed.” This is the black sheep of the EP and the most reflective one. The incessant drumrolls and kaleidoscopic synths whirl you into the stoner philosophy waters where you start musing on humanity. Des’ megaphonized voice feels like third party – it’s as if Des steps outside of himself and recounts what he is observing. We face the impending extinction of a “lost generation” and melodically feel the loss through Des’ echoes.
Des’ Eighty Six is an EP for the lost generation – the generation of “adults” who hopscotch from one bad decision to another, but manage to stay in the finezone.