Thursday, January 26, 2012

Band review: Slonk Donkerson

Rocking out in The Duddy since their formative years, Slonk Donkerson have built a strong musical unit that combines solid musical instincts with a strong group dynamic to produce historically informed rock music suffused with latent commercial potential. This is music that is at times a little earnest in its expression but is not at all contrived in its emotionalism. The impression remains that these guys stand behind what they write, and that conviction shows through.
     For the sake of full disclosure, let it be known that the fact of this bands existence was first brought to my attention roughly six weeks ago, which was due to my current position as barista at the Brown Bookstore café, of which Parker, the guitarist, is a patron. After giving the bands second album ( named II) a listen, I decided that I wanted to take on the task of producing 500 words about them. Part of this has to do with the fact that their musical aesthetic is one that I don’t relate to completely; in this group, however, I found the proceedings handled capably by a three-piece composed of musicians with the requisite degree of musicality.
     The band proper is Parker Silzer on guitar, Dylan Vandenhoek handling bass and vox, and Zack O’Brien on drums. They grew up together in NY and this band is the longstanding fruit of their endeavors in collective music-making. Befitting a group of white boys growing up on the East Coast of the Land of the Free, their list of musical influences includes Fugazi, Husker Du, and The Replacements.
     While other groups were mentioned in the same space as the above three, the imprint made by Fugazi, Husker Du and The Replacements is fairly clear. Songs like ‘Radical Dude’ or ‘The Edifice’ draw from 80’s indie rock, while the hardcore roots of ‘Heat of Night’ are undeniable. Echoes of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. also jump out at times.
     The first track off of the self-titled drives this point home clearly. Clocking in at just under 5 minutes, the proceedings manage to evoke a danceable, sing-along anthemic quality while still rocking out. The result is something like a slightly less agro Fugazi with a more sophisticated sense of musical form. The song itself undergoes a few deftly handled stylistic permutations that all resolve intelligently at the end.
      A song that represents a different side of the band is ‘The Same Mud’; this song seems to be a meditation of sorts on the impermanence of things. This is the side of the band that I don’t relate to as directly, but, their cohesive sense of ensemble, songwriting skills and general musicality show through, here as elsewhere, which goes a long way towards balancing out the sense of overwrought earnestness that permeates the emotional life of the music.
     In short, while the ultra sophisticated might decry this bands obvious commercial potential, the fact remains that they stand behind their music and have the talent to back it up. Check ‘em out at:

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