Released October 30, 2015
Let’s prolong summer at little bit longer, shall we? On their debut album, The Dongo Durango, aptly named Sun Club delivers summery, shimmery, raucous tunes sure to keep you warm all winter long. The eleven-track album is a lot of things: loud, extremely danceable, wild, occasionally demented, and fun from start to finish.
The Dongo Durango kicks off with an intro track that begins as a demonic sort of laugh-wheeze that turns into a multi-layered collage of noise and then resolves into “Summer Feet.” The upbeat track sets the tone for the rest of the record. Vocals by Mikey Powers stand out for their distinctive intonation as he dips back and forth between singing and screaming. In fact, all of the tracks on the record seem to balance right on the verge of exploding–like once they’ve started, they can’t slow down.
“Beauty Meat,” “Summer Feet” and “Cheeba Swiftkick” come from the band’s 2014 EP, Dad Claps at the Mom Prom. . They fit perfectly in the context of The Dongo Durango. The most summery song on the album, “Puppy Gumgum” is laced with warm guitar riffs and an expansive drumbeat. It’s reminiscent of Givers via In Light. This tune is the soundtrack to your impromptu cross-country road trip (which you documented with a Super 8 (if you needed an excuse to do this, here you go!)).
Standouts for me are “Language Juice” and “Dress Like Mothers.” “Language Juice” is everything I find so appealing about Sun Club in one song. It’s loud, rowdy, and they begin the song by unabashedly screaming nonsense noises. There’s something really wonderful about a band being so wild with their sound. It’s obvious that Sun Club is having a lot of fun making this music and that translates when you listen to The Dongo Durango.
“Dress Like Mothers” is impossible not to dance to–seriously every time I listen I try to make myself sit still and write this but I haven’t succeeded yet. When Powers sings/shouts (fine line at this point), “You’ve got my attention, you’re with me forever,” it feels like both a relenting confession and a joyous declaration. The tune turns into a jam session that morphs into the final track, “Tropicoller Lease.” The album ends on a high note, and Sun Club doesn’t loosen their grip until the last second. The Dongo Durango is exhausting, but in the best kind of way—that happy-tired you get from wearing yourself out dancing.
While all of the songs are bathed in the brightness of pop, there are undercurrents of less obviously happy themes, which contributes to the strength of this album. The more you listen to it, the more in unfolds, and twists and turns into something you didn’t see before. In “Dress Like Mothers,” they sing, “Within something bigger then I’ll ever have a right to see//It’s never simple as it’s made to seem.” This line is true for life in a broad sense, but also The Dongo Durango more specifically. To categorize it as just a fun pop album wouldn’t be telling the whole story. It is that, but it’s also expansive, inviting and nuanced.