Donovan Wolfington – ‘How To Treat The Ones You Love’ Review

Posted: by Dylan

Change is something that comes naturally to bands over time. More often than not, this isn’t a good thing if half of your band members have changed, yet Donovan Wolfington managed to pull it off in stride. How to Treat the Ones You Love is the band’s first full-length on now-Cali-based Topshelf Records, but you wouldn’t know it from the kick-ass songs it features. They’ve taken all the best aspects of their earlier music and pushed them further, namely the diversity of tones, balancing high intensity punk against melodic alternative and taking names all the while.

The album starts out with a bang with it’s first single, “Ollie North,” which rips in just the way that fans have grown to expect. Not surprisingly, this is a great song to skate to and has been my soundtrack for commuting to work all week. The second song, “Basalisk,” is not only a totally-sweet Harry Potter reference, but it slows the pace down a bit for the first half of the song before speeding it right back up for the bridge and a bit of guitar shredding. “Mercurus” sounds very reminiscent of tracks off their previous release, “Scary Stories You Tell in the Dark,” with its airy, harmonized vocals only broken up by subtle guitar leads.

Wolfington do something very interesting with the next song, “Hxc Punk.” Beyond being ridiculously-aptly titled with regards to its tone, the song starts with some quick riffage before lead-singer Neil Berthier starts screaming in a way that hasn’t really been featured on any of the band’s previous songs. They’re easily mistakable for a veteran hardcore band and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed their take on this style of music. “Slow Loris” appropriately brings the pace way back down except for its chorus. “Locust” follows suit, starting out slow and developing into a grimy trudge with samples featured across its entirety.

“Mosquito” features the albums title lyrics and is a very comfortable track for fans of their earlier work, just as “John Cena” and “Rhonda” are. All three tracks are pretty straightforward melodic punk. “Solo Cup,” “Hershel Thursday,” and “Manchac” continue this trend until the album’s concluding track. The final song, “Sadhead,” reminds me of a slightly popier Nothing song with its guitar leads and coordinating vocals.

The album is clearly cut from the same stones as Donovan Wolfington’s previous releases, but they seem to have a better grasp on their stylistic blend by this point. Despite having 13 tracks, the album races by in only 34 minutes with this frequent back and forth. If I had a complaint about the album, it would be the run-time, but honestly it feels very well-suited. Here’s to hoping the guys decide to do an East Coast tour later this year, but in the mean time you can catch them on the last leg of their West Coast tour from August 24th to September 3rd. You definitely won’t regret it.