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THE DISCOVERY – Album Review: The Donnys – Get Active

Album Release Date: April 5, 2024                                                                                                                                                                                      Genre: Indie Rock / Blues Rock

“THE DISCOVERY” is CONE Magazine’s recurring series that explores projects from emerging artists, spotlighting fresh, vibrant, and oftentimes underrepresented voices within the music industry.


It’s back to Ireland for this CONE Mag writer, where I’m taking a peek at what raucous the Emerald Isle’s current musical landscape is producing. Today, the spotlight is on Kilkenny five-piece band, The Donnys, who have easily garnered attention with their debut album Get Active. While post-punk and pedal-worshiping tones have dominated Ireland’s music scene for the past decade, The Donnys are at the forefront of another genre making a resurgence: good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll.

The 12 tracks offered on ‘Get Active’ don’t reinvent the wheel, as the band opts to worship the chunky riffs and organ blasts reminiscent of classic 60s and 70s acts. There’s no shame in that when done well, however, and The Donnys are clearly having a blast laying down their road-tested best numbers. “Active!” kicks off the good times, and the album’s mission statement is made clear with its tale of mermaids and foot-stomping rhythms. Propulsive drums, fiery leads, and groovy keys remind the listener of English rock band Ocean Colour Scene at their most thrilling.

“Back And Forth” channels Irish group Them’s rhythm and blues, while heightening its sound, giving this highlight a scrappy, punky edge. Its quiet-loud dynamic is incredibly fun and showcases The Donnys’ musical chops. “Divine Bovine” is another standout track, with the boys invoking rock gods of yore to tell a classic tale of misspent youth and chasing girls. The song features a percussion-drenched breakdown filled with animalistic yelps before a face-shredding solo blasts forth—classic rock 101.

The previously-released track, “The Window,” does another excellent job of highlighting the band’s taut sound. On this track, the five-piece speeds up the tempo at the halfway point, adding some welcome variation to its by-the-numbers blues attack. In other hands, this tracklist could sound like your average Friday night pub band, but The Donnys infuse such vitality and evident love for the genres that they elevate the material to something worth your attention.

The band ventured into more experimental and intriguing territory on tracks like “Spine-O-Cylinder” and “Donny’s Sonata No.1.” The latter serves as an atmospheric interlude, effectively revealing the band’s ability to traverse genre lines into jazz and lo-fi production. “Spine-O-Cylinder,” on the other hand, is a woozy acoustic instrumental, sharing DNA with the likes of Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. Their experimentation on these tracks has proven successful, opening avenues that the band will hopefully explore further in the future.

Get Active is a blast of bruising blues rock, tailor-made for accompanying long nights with good friends. While the album doesn’t offer anything massively revolutionary, it hints at plenty of promise for these five young musicians. In just 12 tracks, they’ve managed to capture the joy and power of live performances, a feat that’s challenging even for the most established groups. Above all, The Donnys’ new album leaves you itching to attend one of their gigs. We can’t think of a better calling card for a newly emerging band. 

Words by Sam Walker-Smart


CONE Mag Album Score: 71%
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