Bonny Doon hail from Detroit, and were formed in the same melting pot that has given birth to bands such as TYVEK and Protomartyr. Those bands are known for their grittiness and smart-alec attitude, which Bonny Doon also share, but there’s also a certain warmth and comfort to Bonny Doon, which casts the mind further afield. It would be easy to point out the similarities to Parquet Courts or The Men in places, but what should be more highlighted is Bonny Doon’s ability to make this familiarity work to their advantage and become part and parcel of their songs.

The album opens up with ‘Relieved’, and the song’s lackadaisical gait and guitar tone instantly put you at ease, as if you’re in safe hands. This is furthered by Bill Lennox's easygoing vocals, as if he’s merely recounting a story to friends around a table at a quiet local bar. The lyrics are cozy, but also reveal a wisdom beyond his early-20s age. When the song reaches its conclusion and Lennox sings “I was staring at the setting sun, and I realised my time had run out/ and I was relieved, I was relieved,” you actually feel that sigh of relief and the physical sagging of his entire body as he does so. It’s like an inverse drop – a weight has suddenly been lifted, and it’s palpable. This weariness and finding ways to accept it and move on, if possible, inform a large part of the sound and themes of Bonny Doon.

’What Time Is It In Portland?’ is a classic song about the transience of life while staying in one place. “Seen five generations of friends come and go through this revolving-door town,” we’re told, our singer again seeming to have aged far beyond his years. The feelings of insecurity and aimlessness are hammered down further on following track ‘Lost My Way’, which doesn’t go much more beyond the statement of its title, but in the impatient and untidy guitars we can feel the deep-set frustration, like a nerve twitching under the eye. ‘Never Been To California’ again sees the band’s wanderlust turning into a sharp yearning, compounded by the wistful classic rock songwriting and atmosphere.

It’s not all bitterness on the album, there’s also plenty of your good ol’ nostalgia and longing, as on any good alcohol-soaked rocker. They really manage to put the “ICU” into ‘I See You’; lamenting with lines like "liquor store, slippery floor/ I saw my reflection in a bottle of wine/ like a neon sign flickering my name/ like a drunken call to an old flame." Then at the song's broken-down bottom the repetition of the title is so full of woe that it seems the very thought of the titular “you” has sent our protagonist into an instant and unbreakable bittersweet reverie. ‘Evening All Day Long’ is the last proper song on the album, and finds the sun setting on our singer, but it seems he’s hardly noticed as he’s been shut up all day drinking wine and ignoring the outside world.

Despite the underlying melancholy throughout, Bonny Doon is by no means a downer of an album, and it’s due to the winning and classic songwriting tropes Bonny Doon have adhered to. It’s the kind of newfound friend that you instantly know is going to become an ally, someone to call on at short-notice, who’ll always join you at the bar and help you work through whatever bullshit you’ve got going on. While it may feel difficult to get it all out, it’ll feel much better once it’s all done and you can chase it all down with a shot. And Bonny Doon will be there again, ready to do it all over again, the next time you need it.