In 2012, the musical collaboration that is Just Desserts will be thirty years old. Larry Fessenden and Tom Laverack are the core of the band, and either as a duo or with a back up band, the two have played together since high school. Since the mid-80’s they’ve played at a wide variety of New York City clubs and performance venues. Now in the summer of 2011, Just Desserts is pleased to be releasing their third album Lost in Love, with a slew of new musicians supporting their signature eclectic sound of bold harmonies, piano, sax, and guitar.
Having previously recorded a collection of lo-fi albums recorded live on cassette in basements and tenements during the 80’s, the duo busted out with an ambitious 17 song concept album, Sentimental War in 1988. A multi-track extravaganza recorded by Wharton Tiers (best known for his work with Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.), the album received favorable reviews and national airplay. Just Desserts toured live with a six-piece band in the New York clubs and subsequently released a single on Bar None Records. In 1999 they released their second album, the fractured song collection Give Up The Ghost (1999) this time with Tiers on drums, and the duo continued to play in various formations throughout the 90’s and into the new millennium.
Fessenden’s blossoming film career and Laverack’s aspirations as a solo artist made Just Desserts a sporadic project for both collaborators, but Laverack’s or Just Desserts’ music is heard in all of Fessenden’s movies from his first feature, No Telling (1990; a film for which Laverack also composed the orchestral score), to Habit (1995), Wendigo (2000) and most recently, The Last Winter (2006).
Fessenden has over time gained notoriety as an independent filmmaker, and as the head of Glass Eye Pix, continues to support a host of up and coming indie directors and artisans, advocating for the importance of artistic collaboration as he has throughout his career. So when Laverack co- founded the record label Sojourn Records with musical maestro Mark Ambrosino in 2007, Fessenden was the first to step up and support the endeavor, becoming a founding member.
A year later, Fessenden and Laverack broke ground on what would become Lost in Love, with Ambrosino producing and engineering the project at his Madhouse studio. As Fessenden states when speaking about collaboration, “I take great inspiration from working with other artists both in subordinate roles and as the boss; it seems to reinforce a sense of community and belonging. My collaboration with Laverack is my longest-running.”
Working with Sojourn Records, Just Desserts determined to revisit tracks from as far back as those first cassette recordings as well as explore newer compositions like “Anything” and “Once in a Blue Moon”. As Laverack states “(the songs) are like old photographs you stashed in a drawer. But over time the magic there kind of shines through. And it does represent ‘our sound’ however one can describe that.” He continues: “We have returned to where we began as a duo and there is something right about the fit, like an old shirt or a worn but comfortable pair of shoes.” Says Fessenden: “It’s been very gratifying to reconnect with our roots, to find the rapport that fist brought us together, and to have a kindred spirit like Mark (Ambrosino) help us capture our sound again.”
“They say revenge is sweet, but Just Desserts is absolutely delicious” –Dianne Pine, ROCKPOOL
“beautiful, unclassifiable music that won’t be pinned down” –Sarge Blotto, METROLAND
“feels like a visit with an old friend…” –THE HARD REPORT
“emotionally charged” --CMJ REPORT
“good exciting music” –David Hinkley, NY DAILY NEWS
“I never got tired of the good stuff” –Robert Christgau, THE VILLAGE VOICE