In the new single “Donna,” The Inoculated Canaries issue another freewheeling pop/rocker spiked with punkish adrenaline whilst expanding upon a sound that has become their own unique signature in the last few years. “Donna” is a harmony-driven composition, but it isn’t lacking in the conventional rock n’ roll frills – grinding guitars, crashing drums, anthemic vocal – that most of us expect out of the group’s music, and though the video is on the simpler side (especially compared to the sleeper hit “Sneakers”), both documents exhibit The Inoculated Canaries’ best qualities without overstating a single theme. I’ve been following this band for a little while now, and while I anticipated their latest release being a stylistic upgrade, I was pleasantly surprised to find it in the leanest and meanest shape we’ve seen from this crew so far.

The guitar parts here produce some really great textures, and even when the horns take over the melodic ascent in the chorus, the presence of the strings in the background is still very affective and important to the harmony surrounding the lyrics. One thing that I’ve noticed a lot among The Inoculated Canaries’ 2019 singles has been an embrace of multilayered mixing styles, and in that sense this track is no different from “The Lawyer’s Wife” and “Who are you?.” What sets it apart is the dimensions within the composition itself, which are perhaps some of the more demanding on the group’s abilities of any song we’ve heard them record in their career to date. They’re challenging themselves in “Donna,” which is something that many of their peers unfortunately tend to stay away from doing.

Lyrically speaking, this single isn’t the most ambitious song that The Inoculated Canaries have ever penned, but it’s nevertheless a really catchy number with a fluid structure. There’s a lot of the swing to the backend here, but the percussion never steals any of the thunder away from the rhythmic rhyme leading the band at the top of the mix – the exact opposite, actually. Even when the strings are sinking into discord, the drums and lead vocals are in perfect synchronization, yielding a contrast between the different components in the band that really adds to the sonic depth of the song significantly. Words aren’t as important as execution is in this scenario, which is ultimately what makes this track work as well as it does, even after repeat listens.

Fans of easygoing alternative pop/rock with just enough of an edge to stand out in the genre’s ever-crowded talent pool would be wise to check out “Donna” this November, as it provides a snapshot of an evolved Inoculated Canaries sounding tighter than they ever have before. “Donna” is a sleek single with an unfanciful music video to match, and while I’m fairly certain that it won’t be the last release from The Inoculated Canaries to stir audiences and rouse the attention of critics both domestically and abroad, it’s definitely an excellent capper to their extensively successful summer, and moreover, a year that has brought the group more accolades and buzz than many had initially expected it would.

Michael Rand

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