Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Donkeys: Living On The Other Side


On their second album's second song, "Walk Through A Cloud," The Donkeys announce—in flawless three-part harmony, over a Pacific-Time-keeping beat and implacable organ—that they left their baby sad and blue and just don't know what to do. If that kind of stock emotion sounds good, roll on up for Living On The Other Side, a mostly dull set of technically accomplished Americana. Not quite as consistently glacial as the Radar Brothers (don't even think of Galaxie 500), The Donkeys' particular blend of sad songs is consistently underwhelming. They shoot themselves in the foot with "Nice Train," a conspicuously upbeat scene-bashing number whose perkiness, verve, and witty takedown of a typical night on the town—stealing wine from gallery openings, hitting up the coffee shops—places the rest of the album's inadequacy in greater relief. Singing collectively, The Donkeys' choirboy harmonies remove any trace of individual personality or viewpoint, and their lyrics seem copied from a songwriter's manual for archaic country. They live up to their unfortunate name—plodding along, doing the work they need to do and getting no further.

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