David Dondero – Immersion Therapy
The album was produced by David Dondero, John Shepski and Juniana Lanning, and is an intensely instropective foray into the ways human beings wind up depressed, anxious, and in the process expose how very common it is.
“After the Pandemic” starts out with dissonance and deep drums and a watery filter on the vocals that produce that lost, drifting effect. “After the pandemic, people will be dancing and singing, people will be loving and living,” but, we doubt it a little too.
“Recipe to be Lonely” delicately confronts the way we create our own loneliness through passivity. The music is one part gleeful and one part nonchalant, and the stage is set for more.
The title track draws you in immediately with “nobody showed up to the social anxiety, immersion therapy group meeting at the bowling alley. I stood there alone, checking my phone…” This is lyric greatness.
But that’s not a unique example of the greatness. “I Followed My Heart” starts off with “I followed my heart, but it brought be down the darkest alley, then it bled all over me.” Yep. And David Dondero is a great guitar player, as all the musical layers take turns in perfect succession.
The album continues to lead us down a path of so many difficult psychological patterns that we all experience, but also so very often fail to share and talk about. It’s cathartic, sometimes bluntly surprising, and musically very well done.
The cover art features the ritual burning of a mask David Dondero painted and has appeared for 25 years on various of his albums. For David, the mask represented self-hatred, imposter syndrome, social anxiety, addiction, and depression. “People signed the mask in solidarity at my concerts. I burned it in the mountains outside Reno, NV,” said Dondero. “I took many pictures as the mask burned. In one photo, I imagined a woman weeping in the flames. I used that picture for the cover. I hope the people who signed the back will see the picture and remember my intent was to burn up a little piece of our collective depression.”
Musicians on the album are David Dondero on vocals and guitar, John Shepski on keys and bass, Juniana Lanning on drums and backing vocals, Anna Tivel on violin, Nic Clark on harmonica, Patrick Spurgeon (The Dandy Warhols) on drums, Skip Vonkuske (Portland Cello Project) on cello, and Paul Brainerd on pedal steel and string arrangement.
Find his music here: https://daviddondero1.bandcamp.com
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Video Premiere: David Dondero Sandsculpture Tombstone