Gold Medal (Bonus Track) (Jpn)


aec.weaj11966.2 12/15/07 New

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    Gold Medal (Bonus Track) (Jpn) WEA

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Review Text Following 2002's spitfire release Spend the Night, the Donnas return with a different drive on Gold Medal. Their earliest releases clung tightly to the Ramones' ethic of three power chords and a chunky rhythm, while Spend the Night riffed on tough and punchy Kiss licks and Cheap Trick-esque super pop, but Gold Medal veers yet again, heading into '70s psychedelia, hinting at a more introspective and melodic feel. A quieter, gentler Donnas? Yeah, kinda. Vocals run through vintage effects, swirling wah-wah riffs, chiming acoustic guitar, and laid-back vocals all give the music a more restrained and casual feel -- as if the band is less aggressive, less impulsive, and less "rawk." The first single, "Fall Behind Me," is one of the few that hark back to their older sound: a heavy harmonic riff (almost reminiscent of the Cult), double-tracked vocals, and a guitar solo by Donna R. (Allison Robertson) that would make Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham grin. The familiarity ends there, as the other songs sound alternately like Suzi Quatro covering Foghat's "Slow Ride" or actually kind of like the Shangri-Las after smoking down with the Foo Fighters. The album's unexpected highlight is the quirky title track, a choogling shuffle with a freight-train boogie and an acoustic-guitar-vs.-piano break in place of the usual electric guitar solo. As unexpected as that sounds, it fits better than any of the other hybrid "hard rock guitar"/"laid-back vocals" song experiments on the album. It appears as though former guitarist Brett Anderson (aka Donna A., natch) has decided to concentrate solely on vocals (with a few piano contributions), which leaves some space in the sound and makes the full-on assault of the previous Donnas records an impossibility. Still, it could be argued that what they lack in "wall of sound" noise attack they've made up for in nuance; the basslines have never been more intricate, tambourines and handclaps come in at all the right times, and the whole album sports the most terrific production of any Donnas record to date. There was something charming in their (metaphorical) balls-to-the-wall embrace of late-'70s party rock that is missing on Gold Medal -- the teenage gang has grown more mature, and while they've gained some in-depth musical insight, they've lost a little of the leather-jacketed spark that fans have grown accustomed to. While this release shows real growth, one questions if that's what Donnaholics are looking for. It is possible that this album will eventually be seen as the transition away from the cute punk-pop of their previous recordings and a bridge into the more elaborate, more mature work that they demonstrate on the album's spectacular title track. ~ Zac Johnson

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. I Don't Want to Know (If You Don't Want Me)
  2. 2. Friends Like Mine
  3. 3. Don't Break Me Down
  4. 4. Fall Behind Me
  5. 5. Is That All You've Got for Me
  6. 6. It's So Hard
  7. 7. Cold Medal
  8. 8. Out of My Hands
  9. 9. It Takes One to Know One
  10. 10. Revolver
  11. 11. Have You No Pride
  12. 12. Don't Break Me Down

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