The Donkeys – s/t

The Donkeys self-titled debut on Antenna Farm Records is a fat, moody sack of lo-fi indie rock. The music is laced with blues, country, rock and psychedelia in a way that conjures classic rock influences such as The Band, The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones. The album is sonically cohesive and, best of all, its charms get better with each listen.

Despite their embracing attitude towards music, this San Diego four-piece’s roots are obviously entrenched in 1960s and 70s psychedelic rock. But don’t start thinking “hippy” because these guys aren’t painting pictures of squirrels and rainbows; for example, check the lyrics in the song “Blood Hill”: ‘She sits inside, trying to hide / She don’t want to do it, but it’s in her eyes / If she looks at you, you’ll surely die / It’s her punishment for all the lies’. The album features more dark imagery than light, but never sounds oppressive or too heavy to enjoy recreationally.

The songs are mostly mid-tempo or slow. “Come on Virginia” and “Black Cat” are instant favorites. “Blood Hill” and “Try to Get By” will win you over, too. With its dynamics and subtle touches, “Lower the Heavens” proves that instrumental tracks should not be skipped. And if you want to hear a song that leaves you with that peaceful, easy feeling, then try “In the Morning”.

Drawbacks are few. Production is lacking, but that’s part of the lo-fi, garage rock appeal. This disc is a gem.