Našice, Croatia may not be the most likely place for a post-rock band to be born, but it boasts more than its fair share. Go Run Donkey Hot! began their journey in Našice three years ago, inspired by other local bands, and has since relocated to the capital (Zagreb). When one Googles their hometown, one encounters images of gothic church and a castle: fair inspiration for post-rock’s grand sonic schemes.
The band’s not-so-secret weapon is the sweet trumpet of Krešimir Stojanović. It’s often difficult to distinguish one post-rock band from another, so the trumpet helps to establish the band’s identity, appearing only ninety seconds into the album and seldom straying far from the field. The resultant timbres offer hints of darkjazz, with its intimations of rainy streets and dreary nights, offset by friendly toasts to humble dreams. The pace is never too hurried, the brass never too loud; instead, the quartet is well integrated, swaying gently from post-rock to jazz, from thick swells of guitar to soft embraces of bass.
As one might expect, the longest pieces are the most appealing. In vintage post-rock fashion, “Jutros” takes its time to reach the 9-minute mark. The crescendos are pleasantly restrained, but they do exist. A late-track breakdown slows the pace to a narcotic fugue, allowing the band time to rest and digest. Then it’s back to happier times, renewed and refreshed. The nearly 11-minute “Kafkaz” takes its dear sweet time to rouse itself from stupor, yet eventually culminates in crashing drums before collapsing gently to sleep, the three-chord chimed guitar line imitating a lullaby. At first, the three-minute “Queer Coin” seems out of place ~ more System of a Down than Low ~ but it demonstrates the band’s ability to stretch its boundaries. Zegrev may offer more opportunities, but the band will never forget its rougher roots. (Richard Allen)