Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Donoma - Falling Forward (2017)

Written by Bradley Johnson, posted by blog admin

Kenosha, Wisconsin’s Donoma are one of the most unusual bands I’ve encountered in quite a long time.  It is impossible to predict what type of ear damage they will employ on any individual track across their sophomore album, Falling Forward’s 12 unnerving tracks.  They’ve got the hearty guitar riffs and beefed up bass/drum interplay of a good rock/blues combo, the twitchiness of NYC noise-rock, a strange penchant for weird lab creations involving several genres and some country soul.  I’ve heard other bands trying to cook up a similar dish of vittles but they usually ruin the entire meal.  Donoma, somehow, makes it work.

If you’re only judging how the album begins and how it ends, you’ve still got two entirely different bands.  “Sick” is a rampart-storming, rock n’ roll affair with powder keg bass grooves blowing apart rollicking tom beats as the guitars whip through a hard rock/country/blues strut on high octane.  Singer Stephanie Vogt holds nothing back in the vocal department in terms of the lyrics or her ballsy presentation of the material.  Closer “Come with Me” is a minimal folk dirge that’s beautifully off-putting (calling to mind a more tuneful Earth).  These descriptions only cover the bookends of this record and what’s sandwiched in between is even more exciting.  The scream along Armageddon of white-washed math rockers “Jack in the Box,” “Splinter” and even “Deep Beneath the Woods’” noisy, digitally manipulated pulsations are the kind of work that would have put this band on a bill with the Cherubs, Boredoms or Painteens.  While “Memory,” “A Change is Gonna Come originally recorded by Sam Cooke,” “Another Light,” “Unfortunate One” and “Otherside” could have set these cats to warm up for Dax Riggs and Sturgill Simpson.  Hell, they’d scare the pants off of Lana del Rey courtesy of the evil jazz/singer-songwriter fluxing of “He Loves Me Not.”  This is truly no-holds barred music that gets up in your face and throws you against the wall; harassing you to beg for release from their musical chokehold. 

Donoma won’t be for everyone but Falling Forward is worth more than a passing glance in the crowded music world today.  The album doesn’t always fit each unique piece of the puzzle together but as a collection of songs it really gets under the skin.  Despite all of the mayhem, several of the songs are catchy enough to even find their way into some sort of Internet radio airplay, thanks to adventurous minded DJs who let their podcasts run wild.      

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