Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Aug. 6, 2004
DamesvioletRoom 107 (Sprague)
"Unapologetic pop-laced rock & roll" is how Damesviolet describes its sound. Roughly translated, the hard-working Austin quartet is too hard to pop, too nüanced for nü metal. A good thing, more or less. Room 107, the band's second LP, is unapologetic, in fact. Led by brothers Beaux and Zak Loy, Damesviolet has its sound down. Opener "Rain" is a strong showcase for Beaux's FM voice, marked by an Eddie Vedder echo without the overemoting vibrato. The arrangement, meanwhile, lifts and parts nicely. It's a song well suited to local frequency KLBJ, a loyal Damesviolet supporter. "Something Wrong" also simmers rather than boiling over. That's where the problem in Room 107 lies. Tracks with more muscle ("Where I Stand") could stand to boil over, rather than sustaining a midtempo to little effect, like "Unforgotten," which has melody enough that the piano is good complement. Closer "Turn Around," the longest song on an overall very tight album, is one of the best, its acoustic solo and thoughtful lyrics melding nicely. Otherwise, Room 107 suffers from tepidly tortured love songs like "Over," also undercut by grating percussive effects. Moreover, a ballad like "Every Time We Say Goodbye" needs a more convincing delivery, another failing here. Loy isn't singing this material like he means it. He's better on the Pearl Jam-like "Leave Me." Actually, as Room 107 progresses, it sounds more and more like PJ, and that's no longer a good thing.