26 July 2011
listen: born with stripes
It’s all Californian dreamin’ with this sixties tinged summer of love inspired album.
Interesting trivia about The Donkeys: when LOST producer Eddy Kitsis first heard the band he immediately cast them as Geronimo Jackson, a fictional band from San Francisco he had written in to the series, who were peers of the Grateful Dead. It’s a wonderful anecdote, and one that gives an insight into the psychedelic spiced country rock sound that illuminates Born with Stripes.
Album opener Don’t Know Who We Are is a chilled laid back start before things pick up ever so slightly with ‘I Like the Way You Walk” with drumming singer (or is that singing drummer) Sam Sprague proclaiming “I like you way that you talk, and all the things that you do, you do like honeydew, those bees” are all round you” in a way that never sounds clichéd or grating but rather refreshing and honest.
And it’s this honesty and lack of pretence that makes the entire album such a delight. While it won’t be on many, if any, end of year best of lists, it is an album awash with such simple pop sensibility that as a result you really can’t help but fall for its charms. Melodies abound throughout, and the playing is excellent – just check out the super smooth exit solo on Valerie as an example. So what if Ceiling Tan does at times get too close to comfort to Pavement’s Range Life? The Donkeys have created an album that gloriously pays homage to all their heroes – there’s nothing wrong with wearing your heart on your sleeve. As Jim Jarmusch once said: “It’s not where you take things from, but where you take them to.”