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CD Review: Damone “From the Attic”

Damone
From the Attic
RCA Records

Damone can be lumped into the category of ’70s revival rock along with the Hives, the Vines and the White Stripes, or shoved together with marketable girl-rockers like The Donnas and Avril Lavigne. The band can even be shelved next to Weezer in music stores. But Damone’s ability surpasses all of these restrictions.

Damone was formed in Waltham, Mass., in 2001 and performed its first show merely one year ago. And this spring, RCA releases Damone’s debut album From the Attic.

The lead singer/guitarist is 17-year-old Noelle, a tomboy who hides behind her straight, dark hair, but becomes vibrant when performing.

On the opening track “Frustrated, Unnoticed,” Noelle sings, “I’m rocking a BMX bike/I’m rocking a muscle head car … /I don’t cry whenever I fall/My heart is strong/I’ll be the one who takes control.”

Although the lyrics fit Noelle’s rugged style, guitarist Dave Pino wrote them.

Pino wrote the songs back in the mid-’90s in an attempt to win back an ex-girlfriend. When Damone formed, Noelle embraced Pino’s material, and minor changes were made to the songs (mostly flipping gender pronouns).

Noelle adds an interesting dimension to Pino’s lyrics. The innocence in her vocals complements Pino’s adolescent theme, and Noelle’s toughness balances his high school naiveté.

The band came together out of various garage bands and side projects. This garage aesthetic can be heard in Damone’s music (and seen in the band member’s individual hairstyles). Ducky Carlisle did a fine job producing the album, allowing the hooks to be catchy but hardly cookie-cutter.

Simplicity is a major factor when it comes to Pino’s lyrics. He writes directly out of Saturday detention. Pino bluntly comments on cars, the girl he pursues, his job at the carwash and teenage leisure activities (wink, wink).

From the Attic does not hide behind complex analogies or big words. On “Carwash Romance,” Noelle sings, “At the carwash I’ll be waiting/As I’m hoping he will come in/So I stand here practice soaping.”

Pino sings background vocals throughout the album but takes the lead for “At the Mall,” sharing the chorus with Noelle.

The song describes feelings of adolescent lust with a fun, spunky perspective and includes a not-so-adolescent guitar solo heavy with effects. Noelle’s raspy yet sweet vocals close the album on “Leave Me Alone,” interestingly chosen for the final song.

Damone shows striking contrast among its 11 tracks with its combination of apathy and youthful angst.

Contact Andrea Papadopoulos at oracletunes@yahoo.com