The Skygreen Leopards
The core songwriting duo of The Skygreen Leopards, Donovan Quinn and Glenn Donaldson, are nothing if not incredibly prolific. They’re two of the driving forces between the permanently unclassifiable folk weirdness that is the Jewelled Antler collective. Most of their projects, like Thuja and Giant Skyflower Band, allow them to indulge in the experimental hubris of long-playing field recordings and epic drones. The Skygreen Leopards, on the other hand, is an outfit designed to showcase their “pop” side, as fractured as it may be.
For the most part Gorgeous Johnny plays pretty close to the folk-pop template of ’60s San Francisco acts. The instrumental opener “Johnny’s Theme” could easily fit on Surrealistic Pillow right after “3.5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds.” There’s a shuffling simplicity to tracks like “Margery” and “Dixie Cups in the Dead Grass,” both songs that follow straightforward chord progressions and vocal melodies. They might be comparatively unadventurous, but they’re solid examples of the genre. Of course, these guys couldn’t resist slipping in the field recorded, robo-voiced BART train announcement “Nine Car Train for Fremont” amongst an album of succinct pop material, but it’s a nice bit of weird punctuation on an album excelling at subtlety.