Following 2002's spitfire release Spend the Night, the Donnas return with a different drive on Gold Medal. Their earliest releases clung tightly to the Ramones' ethic of three power chords and a chunky rhythm, while Spend the Night riffed on tough and punchy Kiss licks and Cheap Trick-esque super pop, but Gold Medal veers yet again, heading into '70s psychedelia, hinting at a more introspective and melodic feel. A quieter, gentler Donnas? Yeah, kinda.
It used to be the case that if you liked one Donnas album you'd like them all. Four hard-living Palo Alto mallrats, each called Donna, they got their riffs from the Ramones and their philosophy from Grease's Betty Rizzo. Now they're 25, the novelty of booze and boys has worn off and their Ramonesy punk-pop has evolved into 70s hard rock. They've even traded their identikit names for their real ones.Whether it's done them good, though, is debatable.