We’ve covered it recently and it’s been on repeat ever since, ‘Ollie North’ opens Donovan Wolfington‘s new record with its drug-reference lyrics, addictive hooks and ‘On a Rope’-style ending – it’s a hell of a way to announce your arrival. Following this up is ‘Basalisk’, a song that showcases a grungier and altogether dirtier side to the band. With its tense lyrics – ‘I’m still so sick and very tired of this shit’ – it verges from the Wolf Alice-style opening to something altogether more punkier as it progresses. And there are some healthy yelps and shouts added in for good measure.
‘Mercurus’ has a sound more in line with TopShelf labelmates Sundials. Full of melodic riffs, it’s over before it gets started and finishes with strained shouts of ‘I’ll let you go inside’. Following this is the venomous brutality of ‘HXC Punk’. Akin to Refused, it’s Donovan Wolfington living out their teenage fantasies as the screams of ‘No trust’ become ever more coherent. Very much the ying to ‘HXC Punk’’s yang, ‘Locust’ begins with a terrifying voiceover that sits somewhere between Barry White and Stephen Hawking. That it’s talking about shame makes it almost an alternative self-help manual. Dark and atmospheric, the band sing ‘If you keep this stuff locked up inside, you’re not going to get better’ as the guitars get ever more intense.
More songs should be named after wrestlers and ‘John Cena’ has a timeless appeal as the band showcase their pain at the impending end of a relationship: ‘I think it’s time to abort’; ‘Every single day gets a little worse’. There’s a touch of Modern Baseball in the couplet of ‘Rhonda’ and ‘Solo Cup’, while as the album reaches its climax there are both pop-punk and shoegazing sounds. ‘Manchac’ is the most Weezer the band have sounded and the closing song ‘Sadhead’ has visceral lyrics about pining for voices on the telephone and then missing the smell of cigarettes, all over dreamy soundscapes.
The band’s second album, ‘How to Treat the Ones You Love’ finds Donovan Wolfington stepping up a level and is a treat for anyone who has a listen.