San Diego natives The Donkeys are back and more sun-drenched than ever, but please, don’t hold that against them. The band, who caught a lot of flack surrounding their previous release for sounding a bit too southern Cali are back to prove us all wrong.
How can a band be too much of a good thing? When you combine all things Donkey you get the following: slow-paced, southern twang, late-60s/early-70s references, meandering melodies, lackadaisical vocals, and what could essentially add up to be either a genius reenactment or a solid attempt at recreation.
This is nothing new. Every band we hear today borrows heavily from their influences, their subconscious, and their peers. We regurgitate as we recreate. There simply aren’t enough notes in the western scale to make for ingenuity every single time we double click.
When The Donkeys released Living On The Other Side in 2008, I think they put out a solid first album and, like most first albums, they were still growing into their roles. It is true, the band does scream out Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds, but with its latest release, Born With Stripes (to be released on Dead Oceans on April 26th) the band seems to have settled into its sound.
They seem relaxed but not overly so, not self-consciously so. The lyrics are wholesome, open-ended love letters to women, nature, and travel. This time around, the band has included some more modern hooks in addition to its standard nods to the past, most notably Pavement, Beck and even a little of Surfer Blood’s insistent rhythmical hammering. Maybe it is because we have had a break in the weather and the sun has turned its attention upon us once again — but I am into the vibe on this one.
The Donkeys play San Francisco May 6th at Bottom of the Hill. Check out the rest of their tour dates HERE.