ALBUM REVIEW: Donnie Willow – Inhale. Exhale.

Need some new noise? Donnie Willow, hailing from the grey streets of Glasgow – a place with an ever excellent music scene – have released an album built to blow the cobwebs out of your bored brain and remind you what exciting stuff sounds like.

Inhale is a deceptive opener. Don’t be fooled by its mellow introduction; it’s only in the last 25 seconds that the ferocity of the song really shows with thrashing drums and throaty screams. Next up, Jagged Teeth layers intricate guitars over shouty vocals. The stop/start rhythm, quickly switching tempos, and frenzied choruses create a sense of movement and irregularity; it’s not music for an easy listen but you won’t be able to pry your ears away.

Giant chords pave the way for shouting and screaming guitars during I Eat Flies. Again, there’s a clear conflict between sections ensuring there’s something new to hear round every corner. Not a single layer of the songs has been designed to go unnoticed and Easy Come Easy Go is an attack on the senses. Despite its oddities, it maintains a memorable middle-eight that stands out as a singalong section of the album.

Taking a more soulful approach, Little Brother’ combines emotive lyrics with belting vocals and guitars that transform from erratic and frenzied to the driving force that carries the track home. It’s a fairly mammoth masterpiece at nearly six minutes long. Another track that’s generous by today’s standards, the lengthy Fairytale has the potential to go places but somehow the powerful rock vocals struggle to set the song alight, an easy listener in comparison to its peers.

Back to Donnie Willow at their best, Exhale is a powerful reminder to stand up and pay attention. In less than sixty seconds we’re treated to noisy riffs, slithering snares, and the catchiest vocal melodies of the lot. Throw in a ferocious breakdown of sorts, and you’ve got one of the best alternative threesomes to come out of Britain since Reuben’s glory days: an unapologetic, gutsy, and loved sound.

Donnie Willow’s sound could see them teetering on the edge of a potentially huge, alternative fandom. Whatever happens, there’s something exciting here we haven’t heard done this well in a while; if they can solidify their sound, they’ll be on to a winner.


Standout Track: Jagged Teeth

For Fans Of: (old) Biffy Clyro, Reuben, 65daysofstatic

Written by: Kathryn Black

A sleepy English Literature graduate and a strongly opinionated fan of all things pop-punk.