You can click the button at the top right corner to listen to music from this album while you read the review.
San Diego based The Donkeys appear ready for the top shelf with one of the summer's newest indie rock albums Ride the Black Wave. The album opens with "Sunny Daze," a six and a half minute transcendental journey of rhetorical reverb in which the band ponders first world hipster problems such as "Should I stay in California, or should I move to France?" As vapor-stick cliche as the lyrics are the track is immensely enjoyable due to glistening telecaster fills and a steady acoustic rhythm that has you looking far past something, and in the case of The Donkeys most likely the Pacific Ocean. "The Manx," which I surmise is named after an old venue in San Diego is for the most part an instrumental homage and is very Doors-esque in it's psychedelic organ use and hollowed kick drum and floor tom. "Imperial Beach" gets distinctly eastern and my lofty comparison goes from The Doors to George Harrison. At sub two minutes it's a shame the instrumental fades so soon as it's an avenue I'd like to see the band compound on. But hey, when you're a skosh over half through an album and you've already held comparison to two of the best bands of the last century then you're doing something right.
The majority of Ride the Black Wave fills out with much of the same. The title track creates an expansive ocean that one can't help swimming through while "Blues in Afternoon" is uncharacteristically bright and enjoyable, a short flute interlude instilling a sense of out of body optimism. "Brown Eyed Lady," and "Bahamas" are the introverts, both being off kilter slowed down tunes that have more Hawaii than California (although the latter does rebound slightly). The album finishes of with "Shines" in bright Donkeys fashion: upbeat early morning tonal guitar and a sense of a.m. adventure ensuring that you'll be back for more.
The gents in The Donkeys are musically sound, that much is evident, and while you might not hear anything instrumentally "new" in Ride the Black Wave everything you will hear has a level of proficiency that is commendable.