September 08, 2008
by Jordan Anne Karnes

Call Me Sentimental

The Donkeys: Living on the Other Side

Dead Oceans | Sep 2008

A quick disclaimer.
Let’s get it out. I’m probably biased. Even if a quarter of the Donkeys wasn’t my favorite Monday night bartender, another a quasi-housemate, and the other half just all around good folks—even if the Donkeys were just another band on another photocopied roster taped to a coffee shop register and stumbled upon by chance and circumstance—even then I would love them.

Their new album, Living on the Other Side, is well crafted from the inside-out. It’s obvious at first listen that this is a record made by guys who not only know music, but good records. They know how an album should feel in your hands, how it should sound between tunes, and how those tunes should fill and soften even the sharpest corners of a room.

Their music is at once disarming and engaging, a genuinely wholesome blend of twang and melody that begs for a turntable, beers and a free afternoon of shadows and sunlight. The Donkeys sing songs of the heart, both light and heavy, conduited by epic guitar jams and gorgeous ivories. This, their second album, continues in the vein of western soul and rock, demonstrating either their knack or maturity for song writing, as each tune unfolds with both playfulness and dimension. The sitar, for example (“Dreaming”), slays.

Living on the Other Side, released on August 22 with general merriment and one hell of a good time at South Park’s Whistle Stop, has been getting the band a lot of favorable attention. Look in any preferred variety of hip and happening music magazines or blogs and you’ll see a lot of comparisons to many a mellow and sun-bleached band. And they’re saying good things, accurate things—things so nice and promising that I figured that all of the San Diego-California-beach-hammock-and-lemonade music metaphors would be used up by the time I got around to typing this damn review.

Yet, maybe the one voice I’d like to Amen is that of the Donkeys themselves, summing up what I believe to be the swell behind their holistic harmonic synchronization. “Call me sentimental,” they sing in “Boot on the Seat”, “I love things that are old.” Their warm sound is both delicately and cavalierly low-fi because it is the product of a hearty love for the classics.

This record is a fine testament to all the greats whose vinyl jackets rest in The Donkeys’ bookshelves, while establishing their own niche on the shelves of many fortunate others.


Walk Through a Cloud

Nice Train

Tags: Whistle Stop, The Donkeys, Living on the Other Side

1 Comment

I used to work with one of the guys from the donkeys, and so I'd hit a show every now and then. With what is out there on the music scene, this band is DUE for success. Their music has always kicked ass in such a unique way, especially amongst whatever was going on in SD at the time. After getting this record, I'm jaw-dropped. It's truely something brilliant.
dustin made this post on 9/11/2008 at 12:16 am

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