- Bryon Harris
Doug MacDonald Band - 'Lightening Head'
The Doug MacDonald Band is a 2 piece Garage/Punk Rock band featuring Doug on Guitar and Lead Vocals with Patty Short on Drums and Backing Vocals. Their newest 9-track release titled “Lightening Head” was recorded at Keep The Edge Studio in Massachusetts and engineered by Keith Asack. The Doug MacDonald band is on the Bongo Boy Records label.
Jumping in, the first track on the album is titled Atomic Phunk. It kicks-off with hard-hitting sixteenth note drumming soon joined by power-chord-punk guitar. Doug comes in singing/ranting “I’ve been a real bad punk. I have a liquid lunch. I get paid to smuggle immigrants in my trunk.” After two verses, Doug showcases his vocal and musical versatility, switching his vocal tone, the dynamics and the vibe to a softer pallet. “Please show me the way and I’ll follow you now, follow you now.” Musically, the song is diverse, pulling you in and out of the punk mode with surf-psychedelic 60’s undertones. The song is about hardship and getting to a low point where paranoia steps in.
Track 2 is "Drawbridge Troll.“ This song starts off with a serious question, "Where were you when it was going down?” with a melancholy musical landscape then busts into a great commentary on the music scene with some really witty lyrics. He dishes out stories about his van being blown up (by a meteor) and becoming a two-piece band. "Drawbridge Troll" is followed by “Mallory.” Mallory has an old-school, nostalgic 60’s rock n’ roll vibe as Doug croons the name “Mallory.” It’s upbeat and dance-able adding a lighter fare to the album.
Mid-way, "Downtown Crossing" is one of the finest songs on the album. Lyrically, the song is intense and observant both internally and externally. Doug looks inward “I’ve never been that hip” and “I feel rested but restless and so disconnected” and moving outward, he describes a scene on a city train where a gay man is beaten. In the chorus, he sings “I cover my eyes and cover my ears. I turn away from all that I fear” followed by “la, la, la, la.”
"Jasons Record Store" is up next. It features melodic guitar riffs and paints the story of a record store and his memories of A place in time where kids rumbled and police cars came screeching by. Doug is painting the picture of a small town that gets smaller and smaller the more he thinks about it. "Silent Alarm" follows with its early 60’s sway. It’s about a missing girl and an Amber Alert. The vibe is mellow and has sad and nostalgic undertones. Additional instrumentation includes cello performed by Kett Lee and some keyboards. “Lights On” brings us back to Doug’s signature guitar motifs which are featured throughout the track. The song seems to be about being fully in the present “turn on the lights.” The lyrics are sparse, enhanced by vocal harmonies, and easy to grab onto.
Track nine brings us to “Shark Attack.” The opening is great with crashing waves and a “Jaws” like foreboding musical motif reminding us of the movie. Doug sings “Shark attack. Get off my back….You’re like Dracula with flippers and fins.” Guest lead guitarist Asa Brebner offers up surf style guitar to match the song’s swim along or get eaten alive fun vibe.
The last song on the album is “Open Window.” A great cut, this indie-rock song, talks about the end of a relationship. “Open the window wide. I really want to feel the day. “Cause the day is the day we say goodbye.” The chorus is very catchy and it ends the album with a memorable song that sticks with you.
Doug MacDonald Band showcases a true diversity on “Lightening Head.” Each song tells its own unique story and with just two members the music unfolds with instrumental and lyrical surprises that earn Doug the title "unique." It is rare to find an album that one can truly call “unique” and Doug has created one. To learn more about Doug MacDonald Band, please visit their website page on Bongo Boy Records.