Indeed, New Sounds is a classic lost record, though whether it counts as a lost classic is pretty relative, considering that even folk heavy hitters Nick Drake or Bert Jansch were once tagged as totally obscure by all but the most ardent followers of the form. New Sounds isn't the sort of record that would appeal to casual toe-dippers, anyway. Rather, it's the kind of recording, like Gary Higgins' similarly recently unearthed Red Hash, pretty much designed to be lost and rediscovered decades later. It benefits from the mystery, and even if Desper himself (sadly no longer able to play guitar, thanks to a recent injury) has been found, it's almost better to listen to the record imagining Desper was lost as well.
It's not that much of a stretch, as Desper already sounds pretty lost circa-1974 singing songs such as "Lonely Man", "Liberty", "Don't You Cry for Me", and "Time Is Almost Over". With their quiet mix of strumming and finger picking paired with mournful, reverb-laden vocals, tracks such as these are private and personal, as if Desper recorded them addressing his reflection in a mirror he could no longer see. They're certainly a far cry from the lusher "Dry Up Those Tears" and "The World Is Crying Out for Love", Desper's formative recordings, originally released as a 7" and included as bonus tracks to this reissue.
It's on those two early songs that we can hear the link not just to other forgotten folkies but to such haunted troubadours as Big Star's Chris Bell, similarly ambitious writers who in the end may as well have been recording songs strictly for themselves. That Desper, too, has finally found his way out from the dustbin will impact the world only a bit more than New Sounds did 36 years ago, but on any given night when you may feel just a bit like Desper did the day this album was recorded (reportedly in just a single take), it's the kind of record that can pull you out of your mood by drawing you wholly into his.