Ride the Black Wave
Reviewed by: Brian Roser
The acoustic guitar and mellow vocals of the opening track put me in mind of a cocktail of late 60s music. Some Peter Paul and Mary, maybe a shot of Grateful Dead and a splash of Beach Boys, just so you don’t forget they’re from California. The album has a ton of unexpected sounds thrown in the mix. “Ride the Black Wave” ends in distortion, much like any margarita-filled night ends in hangover; “Bahamas” features crashing waves and calling gulls and what the hell, they also threw in a sitar instrumental called “Imperial Beach” because why not?
The Donkeys started in 2004. Timothy DeNardo, Anthony Lukens, and Sam Sprague were friends in high school and Jessie Gulati joined them after graduation. Yes, some of them surf, all of them write songs and nobody’s role is set. The drummer might get up to do vocals and the guy on keyboard will pick up lead guitar. There’s no one front man with a huge ego, while everyone else has to toe the line. These are just a bunch of laid-back guys making laid-back music.
The best place to listen to this album is on a sunny beach, mai tai in hand, watching the tide come in. The second best place to listen to it is on your commute where the mellow will keep you from smashing the other cars into scrap metal with a crowbar. Not that I’ve ever wanted to do that.