Bonny Doon

Things aren’t always how they sound. For instance, a listen to Bonny Doon’s self-titled debut exudes their namesake: a breezy, easy, Santa Cruz County vineyard town with a California beach-rock vibe. However, the four-piece (started by Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo) all got their chops in Detroit’s punk scene, playing in groups like Tyvek, Growwing Pains and PRC. When they joined forces for Bonny Doon, the guys turned their amps down to a lazy folk rock decibel level. Yes, those punk roots are still prevalent (see “Lost My Way”), but the distorted fat is cut, the songs are lean and poppy, even a little country at times. Songs like “I See You” and “(You Can’t Hide)” have that no-frills candor similar to Fred Thomas, which turns out to be no coincidence, since the album was recorded at his Ann Arbor, Mich., studio. It’s nearly misleading, its California air, but as Lennox sings, “I’ve never been to California, but I think it’s for me.”