From the Attic
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
You Say "Avril Lavigne Ripoff," Noelle Will Kick
that sound like poppy punky punk-pop, fronted by a tough-sounding
teenage girl. Interested? Sure, you are, at least a little; if
you're not, then you're a big goth snob and everyone else hates
My first couple
of times through this, though, that's what I was thinking: "Oh,
boy, here come the Lavigne clones." And I'm not even an Avril
fan. I could care less about her -- sure, "Complicated"
is an okay ballad, but "Sk8ter Boi" annoys me fifty
ways to Sunday, and I'm pretty sure that any punk bones in the
teeny Canadienne's body have been surgically implanted there.
But she's successful, and when someone's successful, they get
replicated double-quick. I was pretty sure that Damone was more
of the same.
But you can't
really blame me, can you? First off, frontgrrl Noelle LeBlanc
is being touted as a "real" punk, a BMX-racing Massachusetts
chica -- but she (like Avril) isn't really a songwriter, as guitarist
David Pino is the svengali behind everything here. Secondly, Noelle's
voice is the same kind of girlish/barbaric yawp as Avril's, and
carries about as much emotional weight, which is not all that
much. And, finally, thought I, Damone treads the same musical
territory, pop music for people who think they're listening
to skatepunk; hell, the first song isn't 15 seconds old before
Noelle's talking about "I freestyle wherever I go."
I was wrong to think all that: because, really, who gives a
damn? So what if Damone is riding some coattails here? It's
not their fault they got signed, and pop music is all about marketing
anyway, so just leave aside any notions of "authenticity"
and you'll be okay. And that goes for Avril as well as Damone
as well as anyone else. Stop being such a damned snob.
songs are kinda good. I'm not sure I would call any of them great,
but they stick in the memory in a not-so-evil way. In fact, I
think it's pretty clear that his major inspirations are more like
Cheap Trick and their imitator/lovers (Green Day, etc.) than any
Canadian pseudo-skater pop. "Your Girlfriends" spins
a tale of thwarted jealousy over some loud/soft dynamics and a
radio-friendly sort of slashattack; "Up to You" is basically
"Jessie's Girl" with some Big Star and Rancid overtones;
"Driveway Blues" dips shallowly into the pool of Liz
Phair (who is now working with the Matrix just like Avril, small
world). It kinda goes like that.
So if you
love 70s/80s powerpunk, you'll like this. Noelle's voice is untutored
and real, and gets her through new wavers like "You and I"
as well as power-ballads like "Overchay With Me." (No,
I don't know what an "overchay" is. I guess I should,
huh? Well, forget it.) Pino loves to play metal solos on these
songs, and the rhythm section is Nirvana-great.
fun songs. They're not amazing; just about all the tempos are
the same, the melodies aren't always apparent, and three separate
references to working at the carwash is just one too many at least.
But they're good, and fun, and better than what's-her-face. Plus
the fact that "Leave Me Alone" is a pretty devastatingly
cool album-ender, a little acousticy job with a twist ending that
you see coming all the way but you like seeing it anyway so it
So yeah, Damone
is cool with me.
liked From the Attic...
2. Your Girlfriends
3. Up To You
4. Feel Bad Vibe
5. Overchay With Me
6. On My Mind
7. Carwash Romance
8. Driveway Blues
9. At the Mall
10. You and I
11. Leave Me Alone