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The beginning of Desi and Cody

A power duo steps into their own golden age

Desi and Cody // Photo by Charles Elmore

After Desirae Roses-Clinton and Cody Clinton finished the recording phase of their eponymous debut album, Clinton told me something I didn’t quite understand at the time. 

“Before, as far as records go, it was either Desi or it was Cody,” he said. “The record we’re making now is going to be the actual beginning of Desi and Cody.”

I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I had seen the duo perform for a couple of years and always adored their brand of spare, harmony-infused folk rock—Cody on acoustic guitar, Desi swaying breezily with a cocktail glass in hand. It was the kind of music they could’ve performed on a street corner as easily as a stage, and it was gorgeous. Talk of a new beginning, which to me implied a shift in their musical direction, gave me pause. Why fix what isn’t broken?

After just one spin of their new record, I realized I shouldn’t have doubted them for a second.

Watch our Courtyard Concert Series with Desi and Cody and read their Q&A here.

Although the duo is backed by a full band throughout, the album still contains plenty of the classic Desi and Cody vibe. The soulful ballad “Big Dream” and the dreamy, hopeful “Second Wind” anchor the album’s slightly quieter second half. But the knockout revelations come on side one, which plays like a varied master class on bright, ’60s-inspired pop.

“I’m Glad You Noticed Me” sets that tone right out of the gate. It alternates from lilting bounce to rollicking dance-pop, with a charming back-and-forth vocal melody buoyed by Andrew Bones on bells. “I Wanna Feel Your Love” follows—a bewitching soul ditty with sultry vocals from Roses-Clinton, soaring gospel organ by Chad Copelin and horns by Ryan Wayne Tedder that may as well have been plucked from a Motown session.

“Skyline,” the album’s first single, is perhaps the crowning gem. It has all the hallmarks of the golden era of pop music—sunny “la la la” backing vocals, a hint of happy psychedelia, a driving percussive rhythm—with enough inventive, indie production flourishes to make it sound completely of the moment. Here's their winning music video:

The record, which Clinton produced himself and engineered alongside Nathan Price, Costa Stasinopoulos and Copelin, has been a long time coming. I don’t know whether the timing of its release was a calculated move or a stroke of serendipity, but it arrives at the perfect moment. It begs to be played in a car with the windows rolled down, or at a backyard patio party in the late afternoon. It sounds the way a carefree summer day feels—and for my taste, there’s no higher praise an album could receive. 

If this is the beginning of Desi and Cody, count me in for whatever comes next. 

For more from Matt, read his review of John Moreland's High on Tulsa Heat and his feature on Tulsa rapper Derek Clark AKA Verse

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