bonny doon Bonny Doon (clear vinyl LP, £15.95)label: melodic
Bonny Doon's mastery of restraint and melodically vulnerable songwriting comes into its own on their self-titled debut full length. Its essence is floating, folk-ish rock that summons the tossed-off grandeur of early Smog or the Silver Jews boombox tapes, and the dead-eyed poignancy of Neil Young's gloriously unhinged Ditch Trilogy. Songwriters Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo had been collaborating together low-key for a year and a half when they invited drummer Jake Kmiecik and bassist Joshua Brooks, both just 20 at the time, over to their studio space to flesh out some songs in early 2014. All four were active in Detroit's fertile punk scene, playing at the time in Tyvek, Growing Pains, and PRC. The familiar approaches of punk did not feel right however, and the songs initially felt stiff and lifeless. It wasn't until the four tried to play as quietly as possible, with songs shambling along like a car with wobbly wheels, that the band was born. Deconstructing their sound allowed the music to unravel into something open-ended and beautiful, making space for Lennox's effortless and subtly smart lyricism. Natural progressions were embraced and Bonny Doon began playing shows around Detroit in the same loose and flowing manner as their sound was evolving. Recordings intended for a demo were instead released as a debut 7" on Salinas in January of 2015, and four track recordings from a band retreat in Northern Michigan followed as a tape, Classical Days And Jazzy Nights (Life Like), in March of the same year. The real irony comes in complex layers, however, as they hide their saddest sentiments under the most stoned, seemingly spontaneous jams. And while there is sometimes darkness under a hazy veneer, the album is guided by an overarching sense that feeling is winning out over logic and things are coming together imperfectly, partially, and exactly as they should. Tracks: Relieved / Summertime Friends / What Time Is It In Portland? / Lost My Way / I See You / (You Can't Hide) / You Can't Hide / Never Been To California / Maine Vision / Evening All Day Long / (Crowded). Comes in reverse board outer sleeve, with download code and printed inner.
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