Mr. Blue's Menu

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Damnwells "Air Stereo"



Before getting recommended to this album, I had never heard of the Damnwells. After listening to Air Stereo, I wondered why.

Air Stereo is a damn good album. It's very likely the best alt-country album that you'll hear this year. The musicianship, whether it's electric or acoustic guitars, pianos, wind instruments, just seems to work.

Sounding more like a solo Tom Petty album than another Wilco tribute band, the album works by doing the little things right. Although it's poppier than many of it's predacessors, rather than giving the album an overproduced, over polished look, it just adds to what's already there.

It's an extremely delicate balance, and the Damnwells skate that line fearlessly. The only place they seem to cross the line is on the final track, God Bless America, where they get a little TOO self-indulgent.

Looking into the band, I saw they've toured with Cheap Trick. And in a lot of senses, that's what the album sounds like, if Cheap Trick heard too much Whiskeytown and decided to make their own version.

Fortunately, it works incredibly well for one of the best albums of the year.

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