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Monday, March 05, 2012

Track-by-Track: Donkeyboy - Silver Moon

It's rare when a band is willing to experiment so much on a second album. With the success of Ambitions, Donkeyboy could have easily crafted a record full of clones, hoping to replicate success. Instead, they've taken influence from the excellent Bassflow mix of that same single and upped the tempo and electronic influence. It's exactly what I'd hoped they'd come back with.

1. Silver Moon - Opens the album in a swinging fashion, with a simple refrain and uptempo electronic beat. It's a great, straightforward pop song that would do well as a single. 9/10

2. City Boy - The first single, and one of the tracks that's just instantly catchy. The warped vocals of the chorus show up quite a lot throughout the rest of the album, but they're used so well. This has already been a big hit, and sounds like Summer (though it was released in Fall). 10/10

3. Drive - This borrows a bit of that squiggly instrumental breakdown from LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem (I know that sounds unlikely, but it's the best comparison I can make). Another really strong dance track. 9/10

4. Get Up - The first midtempo, and this is where the band's gift for melody really comes into play. That lush, beautiful chorus uses the female vocals (provided by frequent collaborator/practically 6th member Linnea Dale, I'm assuming) to brilliant effect. Definitely a future single. 10/10

5. Out Of Control - This is a huge surprise. It's far funkier and dance-pop influenced than anything they've done. In fact, it reminds me a little of fantastic Danish band Private, especially in its blatant 80's influences. I love this. 9/10

6. No More Movies - This feels a little like Ambitions with a higher tempo. It's one of the best tracks on the album because it melds the band's gift for soaring melody with their new-found dancefloor aesthetic. Pure pop bliss. 10/10

7. Pull Of The Eye - The second single, and an excellent choice. This might actually be my favorite song on the album. The vocoder-ized chorus is reminiscent of Eiffel 65, but in the best way possible. That hook is SO catchy. 10/10

8. On Fire - Back to the 80's influence. This is a good counterpart to Out Of Control, but it's not as strong melodically. I still love it, but it feels the closest to filler that this album gets, even though the production is stunning. 8/10

9. All Up To You - In a sharp right turn, this acoustic ballad hearkens back to their debut. Because it's so different from the rest of the album, it really stands out. Luckily, the melody's strong and it's a great break from all the intense production going on before and after it. 9/10

10. Darkest Night - A late album highlight. This is very Pet Shop Boys, but better than anything they've done in years. Immaculately produced, this has a driving beat that starts strong and never lets up. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. 10/10

11. We Can Be Friends - From Pet Shop Boys to something that sounds a little like Roxette, these guys have taken influence from some of the pop greats. This could easily be another hit single for them. 10/10

12. Stay - An anthemic pop song to close the album. They certainly don't go out with a whimper. I feel like I'm repeating myself, but this is yet another potential hit. This album is remarkably consistent. 10/10

Album Grade: 9.5/10

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Blogger Ryan Talbot May said...

When City Boy first came out it was such a SHOCK. I loved it as a song, but as a Donkeyboy song, I was hesitant to like it that much. Then Pull Of The Eye came out and I was like "Okay this is the direction they are going" and while I do like it, lyrically I didn't really think it was amazing.

Then I heard the album and there are just enough tracks that are reminiscent of the first album that you are able to bridge their unique sound to this new direction that the collection really does feel like a Donkeyboy album.

My top three tracks though are:

1) No More Movies (I think this should have been the second single. It is such a magnificent song and has more depth than Pull of the Eye.)
2) Silver Moon (This does what Stereolife did on their first album. It sets the mood of the journey and pulls you in immediately. And since it is such a strong song, you are more willing to embrace the new sounds of the album.)
3) Darkest Night (I can not put my finger on why I love this track but I just do. There is magic here that just can not quite understand.)

4:02 PM  
Blogger KulPop said...

Great album review, I love the whole album, favourite song is probably 'No More Movies', should be the next single.

Why an amazing band like Donkeyboy has yet to have a cd release in North America boggles my mind, get with it Warner Music!

10:44 AM  
Blogger KulPop said...

Female vocals on 'Get Up' & 'Out Of Control' are from Elisabeth Saeveras, for 'Pull Of The Eye' it is Vivian Sørmeland singing. Backing vocals are shared by Elisabeth and Simone Larsen.

8:58 AM  

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