[29 March 2009]
When you are a band and you name your debut album How to Have Sex With Canadians, you probably need to forgive people who have never heard of you for expecting sarcastic power-pop or snotty pop-punk. As one of those aforementioned people, I was surprised to find that The DoneFors make quiet pop songs, alternately romantic and bittersweet. The four-piece band is fronted by Janine Stoll, whose clear, gentle voice is well-served by her casual, conversational lyrics.
“In a Cornfield” starts out with the memorable lines, “Stumbling on the brink / Of too many beers / Brain full of hash / Not enough to numb my fear.” The rest of the band follows Stoll’s lead, keeping the music mostly low-key and unassuming, from smoky blues (“The Narrator”, “In My Blood”, “Red Fish”) to acoustic ballads (“One by One”). The majority of the album is mid-tempo pop, such as the catchy “The King and Me” and the wistful closer “The Last Thing You Do”. It’s all well-crafted and likable, but nothing about How to Have Sex With Canadians is particularly memorable. With the exception of the album title and the standout “In a Cornfield”, The DoneFors aren’t yet making pop music that is sticky enough to lodge in your brain.