Gold Medal

Gold Medal

3.0 2
by The Donnas
     
 

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Although they were officially "legal" around the time The Donnas Turn 21 came out in 2001, Gold Medal is the first recorded evidence that the Cal-bred quartet have truly entered adulthood. For one thing, they've dropped their single-initial "Donna" aliases in favor of full names; more important, they've expanded their

Overview

Although they were officially "legal" around the time The Donnas Turn 21 came out in 2001, Gold Medal is the first recorded evidence that the Cal-bred quartet have truly entered adulthood. For one thing, they've dropped their single-initial "Donna" aliases in favor of full names; more important, they've expanded their palette well beyond the Day-Glo punk-metal that dominated their last couple of offerings. That progression can be heard on sunny mid-tempo janglers like "Is That All You've Got for Me," which practically bursts with ocean-kissed California ambience, and the title track, a nifty shift into pre-fame Bangles mode. On the other hand, "Fall Behind Me," with its Stooges-like thump, may be the heaviest thing the Donnas have ever recorded, rife as it is with Allison Robertson's muscular guitar work. Gold Medal isn't entirely bereft of the group's signature sound -- "I Don't Want to Know" is a classic blend of sassy harmonies and slashy riffs -- but it's clearly a step forward. And that's always the right direction.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
Following 2002's spitfire release Spend the Night, the Donnas return with a different drive on Gold Medal. Their earliest releases clung tightly to the Ramones' ethic of three power chords and a chunky rhythm, while Spend the Night riffed on tough and punchy Kiss licks and Cheap Trick-esque super pop, but Gold Medal veers yet again, heading into '70s psychedelia, hinting at a more introspective and melodic feel. A quieter, gentler Donnas? Yeah, kinda. Vocals run through vintage effects, swirling wah-wah riffs, chiming acoustic guitar, and laid-back vocals all give the music a more restrained and casual feel -- as if the band is less aggressive, less impulsive, and less "rawk." The first single, "Fall Behind Me," is one of the few that hark back to their older sound: a heavy harmonic riff (almost reminiscent of the Cult), double-tracked vocals, and a guitar solo by Donna R. (Allison Robertson) that would make Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham grin. The familiarity ends there, as the other songs sound alternately like Suzi Quatro covering Foghat's "Slow Ride" or actually kind of like the Shangri-Las after smoking down with the Foo Fighters. The album's unexpected highlight is the quirky title track, a choogling shuffle with a freight-train boogie and an acoustic-guitar-vs.-piano break in place of the usual electric guitar solo. As unexpected as that sounds, it fits better than any of the other hybrid "hard rock guitar"/"laid-back vocals" song experiments on the album. It appears as though former guitarist Brett Anderson (aka Donna A., natch) has decided to concentrate solely on vocals (with a few piano contributions), which leaves some space in the sound and makes the full-on assault of the previous Donnas records an impossibility. Still, it could be argued that what they lack in "wall of sound" noise attack they've made up for in nuance; the basslines have never been more intricate, tambourines and handclaps come in at all the right times, and the whole album sports the most terrific production of any Donnas record to date. There was something charming in their (metaphorical) balls-to-the-wall embrace of late-'70s party rock that is missing on Gold Medal -- the teenage gang has grown more mature, and while they've gained some in-depth musical insight, they've lost a little of the leather-jacketed spark that fans have grown accustomed to. While this release shows real growth, one questions if that's what Donnaholics are looking for. It is possible that this album will eventually be seen as the transition away from the cute punk-pop of their previous recordings and a bridge into the more elaborate, more mature work that they demonstrate on the album's spectacular title track.
Rolling Stone - Jenny Eliscu
1/2 A full album of hard rockin', bird-flipping tunes that come on like punky updates of "You're So Vain."

Product Details

Release Date:
10/26/2004
Label:
Atlantic
UPC:
0075678375828
catalogNumber:
83758

Tracks

  1. I Don't Want to Know (If You Don't Want Me)
  2. Friends Like Mine
  3. Don't Break Me Down
  4. Fall Behind Me
  5. Is That All You've Got For Me
  6. It's So Hard
  7. The Gold Metal
  8. Out of My Hands
  9. It Takes One to Know One
  10. Revolver
  11. Have You No Pride

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Gold Medal 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Left me with a dissatisfied taste in my mouth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every song in this album is a classic.'Fall behind me' is one of their strongest tracks and does sound simillar to the 'foo fighters's' song 'times like these'.But nothing can stop these girls from getting the success that they deserve.Brilliant and sharp to the last song.take my adivice.......buy this album and make it number.1. Hope you read this and become a fan,'cause that's what happened to me.