The Donnas - Gold Medal

Before the advent of the compact disc in the early eighties, music lovers were content with vinyl LPs. Two sides of an LP usually ran to just under forty minutes and with CDs there's space for 80 minutes of music, but as is so often the case the quality control suffered as a result with unnecessary filler spoiling an otherwise great album. Thankfully The Donnas hark back to the past with a collection of songs which last for just 34 minutes, isn't over produced or full of unnecessary collaborations or special guests.

These four feisty females may have signed to a major label, but still have the DIY punk ethic and simple short songs with melodic pop hooks. Only in America could you have an all girl rock group with stage names Donna F, C, R and A with a lead singer whose real name is Brett Anderson. "Gold Medal" could be the album for The Donnas which elevates them from cult underachievers to fully fledged Pop Princesses.

"Don't Break Me Down" has a thumpin bass intro from Maya Ford with simple guitar chords that are infectiously addictive in a throwaway catchy pop song. At times downbeat the lyrics demonstrate a maturity and understanding of damaging relationships. The closing line "But just give me some time, and i'll get it right" does promise hope and perhaps even closure. "It's So Hard" could be The Shangrilas" with guitars as each Donna provides backing vocals in a 60s style to the musical accompaniment of the 70s riffs. It may be undemanding, but it sure sounds good. "Out Of My Hands" slowly builds until the inevitable soaring chorus arrives in grand style. Allison Robertson on guitar may not be technically brilliant, but she brings personality and a punk sensibility to her playing. This is a typical Donnas track with a touch of Blondie and even Kenickie resulting in a song truly to be proud of. "Revolver" uses a gun as a metaphor for a possibly destructive relationship. The Donnas write hard hitting lyrics from a female perspective which are direct and to the point, sugar coated in melody and girly vocals.

"Gold Medal" is the best album to date from a band who stick to a winning formula of three minute pop songs with a sinister edge of subversive word play. What more could you ask for?

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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