I recently went to an Ataris show at a local club, and though I'd never heard of the opening band, I decided I should give Damone a chance. After all, the vocalist had cool stickers all over her guitar, and if I left my spot up front. I'd never get it back.
I was quite surprised.
At first I thought I was hearing your average generic pop-punk band with bad vocals and mildly catchy instrumentals. Then halfway into "Up To You", the lead guitarist completely blew me and the crowd away with a (though I didn't know it at the time) partially improvised solo that sent us all into a frenzy. To be fair, the sound levels at the show were horrible, with drums drowning out just about everything, so I hadn't formed a valid opinion on Damone's music yet, but what really caught my attention was the guitar work. So, when Noelle, the vocalist, told us their debut would be released through RCA soon, I decided I'd buy it.
Best 8 bucks I've spent on music in the past couple months.
The album opens up with "Frustrated, Unnoticed," their single and although not really one of the best songs on the album, it's laden with catchy pop punk fun that somehow don't feel reminiscent of other bands to me. This is probably largely due to the female vocals, my first impression of which was "If Avril Lavigne actually knew how to do punk rock, this is probably what she'd sound like, but with a little more talent."
Right about here, the punker-than-thou kids are going to decide that this cd is completely and entirely trash-worthy and prepare their scathing comments. And they're entirely justified. If you want 'real' punk rock, you wont find it here.
However, this isn't to say Damone is necessarily bad music. It's lighthearted, entertaining, and refreshingly different from the nasal vocals and repetitive guitar work I've heard from other new pop-punk bands, such as Simple Plan.
My largest complaint is that even though her voice gets stuck in my head, Noelle needs some work. She has a good sounding voice, but the full potential of her voice is not realized anywhere on the album. She'll learn though, she's only 17 right now. Then again, isn't Avril?
The guitar work, as I mentioned before, is unlike anything I've heard from a pop-punk band before. With solos scattered generously throughout the album, and the use of harmonics in a few places, as well as on "Up To You", a harmonized solo (which sadly sounds like it was generated in studio, but still sounds lovely) between the two guitarists (Noelle plays rhythym guitar). I have to say, the guitar work is where this band shines most. For a good example of this, check out "Driveway Blues".
What will really eat at many fans is Damone's lyrics. While the words sound fine coming out of Noelle's mouth, if I saw them on paper (and the album doesn't come with discography in the foldout) I'd probably cringe. Here's an excerpt from a song:
"You're at the mall and I'm missing you, you've got it all and you know I care."Hardly inspired. The guitar solo that comes after the chorus is repeated a few times makes me feel better about listening to it though. Which brings me back, once again, to the solos. Although they're everywhere, they tend to come after the chorus is repeated a few times in most songs at around the same time. This doesn't necessarily feel repetitive, but it is.
With this in mind, if you're looking for a pop punk cd that doesn't, at any point, have a 30 year old male singing about high school, definitely spend the ten or so dollars it takes to pick up From the Attic. Granted, your 30 year old male is replaced by a high school age girl, but isn't that change of pace just what we all need?