Release Date: Apr 14, 2015
Record label: Rock Ridge Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Country-Rock
On 2011's No One Listens to the Band Anymore, Damnwells founder and principal songwriter Alex Dezen seemed to have finally mastered the art of making a record that captured the sound, spirit, and attitude of his band without having most of his bandmates around; Dezen and bassist Ted Hudson were joined by a gang of guest musicians who gave the album plenty of texture and personality despite the absence of half of the original Damnwells lineup. Having demonstrated that he can effectively go it alone, Dezen has taken the opposite approach for the Damnwells' self-titled fifth album, which reunites the group's original lineup -- Dezen on vocals and guitar, Hudson on bass, David Chernis on guitar and lap steel, and Steven Terry on drums -- for the first time since 2006's Air Stereo. As one might expect, The Damnwells sounds more like a group album than No One Listens to the Band Anymore, as good as that album was, because it puts the emphasis squarely on the songs (written by Dezen in collaboration with the group) and the band's crisp, heartfelt musical interplay; none of these musicians sound like virtuosos in this context, but they clearly know how to work together, and they create an energy when they come together that Dezen couldn't quite conjure with the pickers on his previous album.
Although holding fast to their indie ethic, the Damnwells have made impressive strides throughout their roller coaster career. Veering very little from the standard roots rock MO they established early on, they’ve consistently upped the ante in terms of both production and song craft with each consecutive effort. The fifth album by this Brooklyn-based quartet provides a tribute to that dogged persistence.