A San Diego foursome brings pop and country, blues and psyche into lazy focus on 10 killer cuts that are as demanding as you want them to be. On slow-moving “No Need for Oxygen” the Donkeys’ hammock-worth shimmer and lazy harmonies lull you into the nods, yet loose, note-perfect playing and dark-shaded lyrics are there if you want to think about things. Steel pedaled “Blood Hill”, starting slow and blossoming ominously into rock, is the album highlight. Still there’s much to be said for a woozy waltz like “Paisley Patterns” or a trippy instrumental like “Lower the Heavens”, where guitars arch toward endless skies. Donkeys recently backed Owen Ashworth’s Casiotone for the Painfully Alone on a series of live cuts and it makes sense. They bring the same offhanded precision to instrumental arrangements as Ashworth does to lyrics, blowing casually excellent melodies into the air like soap bubbles and watching them float away.
// Notes from the Road
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