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***Coming down from the ALPS-aintop recently, our boy MIKE DONOVAN broke away from the medicine show where they preached ol’ testament SICness. Something in the forest was calling. Signals emanated from the old dark hollow, with portraits of the Old Masters stacked in silence, collected the dust they are owed. Transistorized tunes echoed from inside a mossy log, crackling and rambling in the air of watery sunlight and tensed moon mist alike. Transfixed, Mike washed his hands in muddy water and wandered on to the oracle. And this is Wot he/she said... Here is a mysterious man, cheerful and dark. You don’t want to get in too deep but it’s too late. It is Donovan’s way this time around, and he’s flying the flag himself. Wot’s the name of this bolt from weed-ridden left field, the most hands-down, top-up debut alb. rolling ’round in 2013. Rife with riffing TUNES! Of course, Donovan’s debut comes following a distinguished run of tunesmithing for noise-popster poster boyz SIC ALPS, so he’s well prepared to go the solo route with a sac fulla songs. But shedding Sic skin so cleanly while still retaining the thing called “essence.” Lyrically, Mike’s sharpened the lead for a less random line drawn in the sand—but he’s still alit on allusive trips, lost in crystal canyons, turning a phrase with an acid flick of the wrist-watch. In this life, there is a brooding pregnance as he intones over some front-porch 21st-century j’accuse-tic blues with a blur of bygone, half-plugged, elegiac slo-mo rocknroll rubbed in for good measure. Guitars intersecting in the manner of the old loom the Stones once used, weaving in blue. Where rubric becomes fabric becomes freecidelic. Confronting the empty in acrostic (inner) space, Wot is Plastic Ono dyspeptic arrhythmia, with Mike’s soul shoutouts at the five-and-dime buried in the symmetry. The dream is over, so he’s starting a new dream. (STREET DATE - 10/15/2013)