Born with Stripes is the third album from San Diego's ramshackle sound-drifters The Donkeys. Hazy, bluesy rock is what these guys seem to be all about; there's an air of nostalgia and romanticism to their gentle, atmospheric sound that whispers fragrant summer breezes and lingering sunsets by the lake.

The record commences with 'Don't Know Who We Are' which is full of soulfully warm, casual twangs; loose riffs and tinny, wonky guitars which are evocative, at times, of The Byrds and The Band. 'I Like the Way You Walk' continues with the laid-back summer jam vibe. Towards the end it gets a bit vocally urgent in a couple of places; a la Two Gallants or Born Ruffians, but it doesn't really rock the boat too much.

Following on, the title track, 'Born With Stripes' is a slight change of direction for the record; combining punching drums, kooky keys and bristling guitars to create something upbeat. Nonetheless, the placidity continues into the ambient, trundling 'Kaleidoscope', a shimmery, trippy number full of quiet cymbal waves, twinkly guitars and the odd husky vocal intermission here and there.

Love song 'Oxblood' is probably the most entertaining track of the album; it's perhaps a little more layered than the others, opening with an endearing guitar riff and an uplifting poppy melody which builds to a climax of tambourines and sunny vocal harmonies. That said, this isn't particularly redeeming after waiting for the best part of half an hour for something 'exciting' to come along and wake you up. The penultimate track, the six minute, lack-lustre 'Valerie' is a soft and rolling number that picks up a tad four minutes in, with a twiddling guitar bit and some shouty vocals; it all just seems a little safe and directionless. The album concludes with the instrumental, sitar infused 'East Coast Raga' that serves to show that The Donkeys could be capable of a little originality if they put their mind to it.

Whilst the band is entirely inoffensive, there is no resplendence about them, instead they are disappointingly beige. If you don't expect to be affected or entranced then you won't be disappointed, but for me, personally, I want some passion, poignancy, urgency or innovation from the music I listen to and unfortunately, as it turns out, these aren't really things Born With Stripes possesses.

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