Some bands know how to create good party songs that also sound really well engineered, Pittsburgh band Donora accomplish just such a feat. Very much a family band, Jake (drummer) and Casey (guitar/vox) Hanner are siblings and Jake (bassist) is married to their sister, this energy and togetherness comes through in the sometimes unserious sounding choruses of some songs and the tightness of the rest of their songs.
Their eponymous debut Donora, is one of the few indie debut albums I know that actually sounds amazingly catchy, exciting and well crafted throughout. Most debut albums usually have a few throwaways or at least songs that people mostly interested in their main sound just discount but even the slower and more Feistier (pun intended) ones sound amazing. This albums shining accomplishment is having almost every single one of it’s choruses make you want to sing a long to because of it’s group shouting style. Also there is shockingly no solos at any point on this album. But enough preamble. The songs.
“Shout” starts the album right, showing off their sound crafting smarts and their affinity for dance/rock . “Shh” is a intimate, well layered song who’s chorus is just as silly as it is sweet, it also manages to pull off the happy emotional reaction that’s so hard to pull off. Next is probably my favourite song on the album “Weekend Tongue” a quick, pop-y dance song, with weird yet appropriate background sounds whose count off to intense building bridge is still one of my favourite’s of any song I know.
“The Chorus” is another one of the more intimate songs on the album, that has a real genuine feel to it, and still manages to be super up beat every time it hits a chorus because of the free nature of it’s lyrics. “Shak’ida” jumps back into the hi-fi crafting found at the start of the album, and has a hit heavy chorus with one of those weird lines that gets stuck in your head despite being half gibberish. “Backbeat” keeps the dance feel going, with weird synth organs, also has one of those annoyingly catchy choruses.
“Photograph” starts slower but immediately has a creeping wall of sound moving throughout its verse that explodes to life once at each chorus, and hang’s faintly in it’s bridge. “I Think I Like You” sounds like a B-Side from Feist’s Reminder, with one of the sweetest, catchy piano lines of the past few years it pulls you in immediately. “Saturday Night” pulls the album towards its end well, coming back to the dancy, hi-fi, catchy and shouty choruses that fill the album and still managing to not sound like half the other songs on the album. “London” unfortunately strays from the formula that makes the album stand out and feel personal, it’s dance/rock and silly intimacy, it does manage to pull of the wall of sound fairly well but it strays too far into a generic slow piano territory to feel like it belongs on the album.
The band’s music is hard to find on youtube (try grooveshark) but here’s I think I like you:
Drop me suggestions for upcoming weeks