Mike Donovan

No matter the moniker, Mike Donovan has held one consistent truth in sway over the years — he knows how to construct a pop song, and then to completely take the wheels off and let it loose down the hill. What’s always made Sic Alps, The Peacers, or his solo work so endlessly endearing is the knowledge that Donovan could play it straight but he chooses to let the riffs rust in the rain while he tosses a few extra bolts into the rhythm tumbler. The songs still have that kernel of catchiness, but the scuffs and scrapes are all a part of the charm. For his latest, Donovan finds a kindred spirit in Mike Fellows aka The Mighty Flashlight (Silver Jews, Prison, Royal Trux). The cross-over feels like a home-turf highlight as the two are both known to roam the roads here Upstate NY, and their proximity fed into bringing this collaboration to fruition.

Fellows has been helping folks hammer the heat into place for some time, helping to record works from Endless Boogie, Pigeons, Weeping Bong Band and Prison. On Meets The Mighty Flashlight, he proves a perfect foil for Donovan’s corroded pop. The resulting album brings out a side of Donovan that’s been a bit buried since the excellent (and highly undersung) WOT. The tenderness and exposed flesh of “Whistledown” would have fit onto that platter nicely. Second that for the rainy day dirge of “Join The Alarmist” but the album isn’t a retread of that record in the least. Fellows slaps an expanded palette on Donovan’s work, taking the pop exhumation to new heights and new humors. Thunderous bass drums clatter on “Our Liberty,” barroom pianos pound and spar with tone-poem eruptions before “Pollardian Jack” digests the entirety of The Pretties’ Parachute into one Nitrous-opera of a track. It’s as ambitious an undertaking as Donovan has attempted yet, and its a damn shame the year is packed so tight, as the album feels woefully slept on. While others are playing it safe and recycling the past, Donovan’s divining the future through tinfoil crystal balls. It’s easy to get lost in Meets The Might Flashlight, but its well worth entering the labyrinth.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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