We would love to be able to say that the Donkeys are simply four California beach bums who love to surf, drink cheap beer and jam as the sun sets over the Pacific. The long legacy of music hailing from California — from Bakersfield to the Beach Boys, Sweetheart of the Rodeo through Slanted and Enchanted — has shaped our sense that everything and everyone "out west" is laid back, comfortable and cool.
And to be fair, when it comes to the Donkeys, some of this mystique is true — two of the band's members are indeed surfers, and all four have been known to down a six pack or two. But like California, the real-life Donkeys (best friends from Southern California, Timothy DeNardo, Jessie Gulati, Anthony Lukens and Sam Sprague) are much more... real. If their backstory contains those top-down cars and suntanned utopian surf tableaus, it also contains the malaise and the escape fantasies familiar to all suburban kids of the 80s and 90s. Miraculously, the music manages to comfortably communicate both moods at once. Any expression of existential ennui — "is this all there is?" — is simultaneously soothed by an unrushed guitar lick and a harmonized twang that becomes almost, dare we say, meditative.