Much like the famed Wiz Khalifa, Donora has a distinct “412” sound. Unlike Wiz though, they accomplish this Pittsburgh vibe by way of complimentary guitar melodies, catchy tunes, and perfect vocals in a self-described “garage rock” style.
Their rookie album—self-titled “Donora”—showcases this catchy style with ten brilliant songs.
Jake Hanner (drums), his sister Casey (vocals/guitar), and Jake Churton (bass) give each track its own life and unique feel, whether upbeat or solemn.
“Shout” is a perfect opening to the album; from the get-go, listeners will latch onto the melodic timbre in Casey Hanner’s vocals and the upbeat tune.
The hook, “I wanna shout it, but I won’t,” will be kindly replaying in your head for some time to come.
As one song flows into another, you might find yourself immersed for the entire 35 minutes the album plays. While the music might be considered simple (as there are only three members in Donora), it is extremely pleasing to listen to, and is hard not to enjoy.
“Shhh” is one such example.
Following “Shout,” it is a simple, even cutesy track about innocent love and not caring about what others think. It’s just merely “whispering to one another” and loving it.
In actuality, “Shhh” is a microcosm of the album itself—fun music that will put anyone in a great mood.
Other tracks of this same vein are “Weekend Tongue,” “Shak’ida” and “Saturday Night” (which gives a shout-out to Erie as well). One can tell they were crafted and recorded for the sheer enjoyment of making music.
The must listen-to track, though, is “Chorus.” It is a wonderful soft spot in the middle of the album, contemplating letting your guard down to a trusted confidant. While it may be mellow, it is the centerpiece of the album, putting everything into perspective.
This Pittsburgh trio has really crafted a work of art in their debut album. Not one song is hard on the ears, and the 10 tracks are sure to be on “repeat” for any listener. Donora makes music for the simple fun of it, and that mission really comes through in their album.