Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Wow! Kind of slow, but has a wonderful groove all throughout the album. A little bit country and a lot rock and roll. Definitely reminiscent of the Velvets, Jesus And Mary Chain, Dinosaur Jr, and Parquet Courts. Very lo fi and minimalistic but it totally works and sounds truly amazing. Maybe I am still stuck in the late 80s early 90s alternative thing, but I really believe this album transcends that. Although a lot of the same elements can be heard in both eras, this record is modernized and sounds fresh. There is also a nice undercurrent of ambient, shoe gazer noise that adds some nice touches.
What do we know about Bonny Doon? Songwriters Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo had been collaborating together for a year and a half when they invited drummer Jake Kmiecik and bassist Joshua Brooks over to their studio space to flesh out some songs in early 2014. These guys are natives of Detroit and consider themselves as somewhat outsiders in their local music scene. They are not the hard sounding rockers that preceded them such as The Stooges, The MC5, and the legendary Detroit hardcore band Negative Approach. Their sound is much softer and less aggressive and their song topics are more upbeat and optimistic, for the most part.
Lost My Way (Track 4) is my fave so far. Definitely residing in that Pavement/Parquet Court space that seems to be my comfort zone. This songs takes the tempo of a great punk song with the volume turned down a bit and really beautiful singing and harmonies.A little bit in the jangle pop realm, but still edgy.
Lyrically, these guys seem too young to write such heartfelt and sentimental songs that appear to be way beyond their years. A song like Never Been To California (Track 8) is so well crafted that it seems inconceivable that lads in their early 20s have the sensitivity and life experiences to write such a song. But they did it and boy does it work. I am going back to this track as well.
Summertime Friends (Track 2) starts off like a Velvet Underground song with a heavenly riff and some instrumentation that sounds a little like the old garage song 96 Tears. It is a little tale about those friendships that blossom and end in the course of one summer. Ah, the joys of youth. Bonny Doon sing and deliver this song like pros with years of experience. I can’t get enough. I do believe you will have the same reaction.