Donovan Blanc

Donovan Blanc

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Between the years of 2011 and 2013, the guys in Donovan Blanc, Joseph Black and Raymond Schwab, released tons of weirdo lo-fi pop under the name Honeydrum, nine EPs in all. After a name change and a little bit of sonic adjustment, the duo's first album, Donovan Blanc, finds them in a very focused, very mellow place. Built on a bed of chiming, multi-layered guitars and calmly sweeping synths, the pair craft a sound that's extremely soft and relaxed, and quintessential Captured Tracks. A little bit of Felt-y jangle, some late-night '70s singer/songwriter introspection, and a little bit of atmospheric '90s Church-y melancholy, are all mixed together in songs that nibble around the edges of one's mind instead of knocking you smack in the head. Black and Schwab are crack hands at creating a peaceful mood, cranking it down to 2 or 3, and drifting along effortlessly on waves of rich vocal harmonies. It makes for an exceedingly pleasant listening experience that ebbs and flows like clouds across a sunny sky. The few moments that crank things up just a touch, like the hooky "Can't Wait to Meet You" or the sweetly pulsing "Minha Menina," add some nice boosts of energy and also provide the album's most interesting moments. Not to say the rest of the album is boring in any way, it's just more reassuring than it is exciting; more soothing than thrilling. Certainly Donovan Blanc isn't the kind of album that will cause people to rush out and tell their friends that they need to hear it right away; it's built more for quiet nights and restful moments. To that end, the duo don't put a wrong foot forward, and they've made an album which creates that kind of mood perfectly, which isn't easy to do, and making for an even more impressive debut, it's their first attempt.

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