EP Review: Donnie Willow – Exhibition

Review from Ben Wilson

Glasgow power trio Donnie Willow have been making all kinds of waves recently, with last year consisting of them touring furiously and releasing the phenomenal mini-album ‘Inhale. Exhale.‘ With their recent signing to Sunbird Records, the band are set to release their follow up EP ‘Exhibition‘, and all the EP exhibits is that Donnie Willow are an unstoppable force of pure riff.

The EP opens with ‘Stuck‘, a track filled to the brim with all of the tension and pay off you could ask for in a tune – boasting bass tones so filthy you wouldn’t want them talking to your sister, and beats you would struggle to tab along to without the help of several other hands. The versatility of Donnie Willow demonstrated throughout the track never ceases to impress, with vocals that you can’t help be jealous of in how they seemingly transition between blind fury and angelic bliss.

This leads onto the lead single of the EP, ‘Blessed Company‘, an infuriated song taking no pleasure in complacent relationships and friends and just letting all of its feelings loose. All of the blistering vocals and angry stop start playing makes it feel like you’ve got Jamie Lenman shouting through one ear and Rolo Tomassi shouting through the other.

The third track from Exhibition, ‘Toys‘, is a personal favourite of mine – after seeing it played live last year, it is just full of energy and angsty emotion about wasting time and money. Toys is really where you see the Rueben influences in DW, with the intro riff driving into your ear drums and getting even more explosive for the verse. The pre-chorus might be my favourite part of the entire EP, just for how groovy and cheeky a phrase it is – it bounces you around until the chorus rears its head and just screams you into submission. By the end of the song, the vocals are so irritable you can barely discern words in their spitting fury.

The closer ‘I Still Remember‘ takes this great anger exhibited on the rest of the EP and turns it onto its head for a very delicate and empowered song, full of lovely melodic phrases and delightful vocal refrains. The entire EP ends on such a delicate and vulnerable note, with all of the pissed off-ness coming down to a very emotional and quiet vocal line.

Donnie Willow can only release bangers is what I have found with this EP. They’re not a band that messes about when it comes to producing the best tunes they possibly can, and they do it bloody well. Now excuse me whilst I go listen to this EP again.

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