If you combine 1980’s pop music with Florence and the Machine, you get the sophomore album “Boyfriends, Girlfriends” by the Pittsburg band Donora.
The band is made up of two siblings Jake and Casey Hanner and bandmate Jake Churton.
Donora labels their music “melodic, dance-worthy, garage rock” and I would agree that is the best way to describe them. I found myself tapping my feet listening to the music on their album.
Listening to this music blended my inner 80’s pop fan and my love of The Ting Tings.
Unlike their first self-titled album, it has a slight different style to it. There seems to be more variety in their style. This one really expanded on their catchy melodies and bursts with lyrical abstractions that just seems like the band wanted to expand and experiment with their musical style; and it worked successfully.
Like their previous album it is all about love. But, even if the focus is on love, their approach on the subject matter is vastly different from the previous.
They do stick with their simple, and often repeated, lyrics which get stuck in your head easily. During work, I’ll be humming along with my iPod to their memorable new tunes.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the album as a whole is the flow of the songs. I tend to enjoy artists who do not just have a list of songs that they thought were good. I enjoy artists that have a story premise to the album and all the songs are intended to fit together. It is as if they are putting together a musical soundtrack with their music.
“The Story” opens the show with setting up the rest of what the album is about, telling a story a love and how it came to be.
In the middle of the album with each different track, Donora discusses the different aspects of love. This only adds to the way the story is being told throughout the entirety of the album.
“Boom Boom” is about the physical reactions a person has when they are attracted to someone; like every time you see them your heart wants to pump out of your chest and you can’t seem to control yourself.
“Can Can” is a song about loving what we have and learning to appreciate what we have while we have it. It has an interesting mid-song change in the melody that captured my attention right away.
“The World Is Ours” is about the feeling of infallibility and ease you get when you are in love with someone, like you can take on anything because you have love on your side.
“If You See My Boyfriend” is a catchy, fun little breakup tune that should be added to anyone’s break-up mix. I think this song is one of my favorites on the entire album; although it is hard to choose an absolute favorite.
One of the songs I enjoyed the most was “Mancini’s Dance Hall.” It had the repeated lyrics and not all too complicated to learn but it’s the music accompanying the lyrics I found to me to be the most dance-worthy on the entire album.
“Happily Ever After” closes the album and wraps up what the rest of the album is about. Although an upbeat, fun ditty instrument wise, if you listen closely to the lyrics it is actually a bit darker. Similar to the style of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People.
Donora did not make it a statement album or seemed to have any real serious message to it like some artists do now-a-days; just an album all about stories and the different definitions on love. I predict that when writing the lyrics they sat around and shared all their own personal stories on love. Then, decided to put those stories to catchy melodies.
Indie music fans will enjoy this album. I would suggest putting their music to any dance playlist.
I have a feeling with the songs’ ability to appeal easily to a wide audience and the way the songs can get stuck in your head, we will probably be hearing a lot of it on MTV reality shows soon. Donora did a good job fighting out of the “sophomore slump” when it comes to artists releasing a second album.