After garnering critical acclaim with their 2004 major-label debut, Bastards of the Beat, Brooklyn's Damnwells spent a lot of time on the road. The ups and downs associated with the long-distance love life of a musician are reflected in the band's latest album, Air Stereo. Singer-guitarist Alex Dezen's moody melodies and heartfelt lyrics are smooth enough to touch even the toughest cynic. Dezen obviously has been on the receiving end of a few breakups himself, which he best reflects in "Heartbreaklist" and "Shiny Bruise," songs that both show the singer's jaded outlook.
"Golden Days," Stereo's first single, and "You Don't Have to Like Me to Love Me" are radio-friendly, summery tunes that venture close to Jackson Browne territory but still retain the band's trademark Americana style. Dezen also injects humor into Air Stereo; on "I've Got You," he sprinkles a few classic song titles into his own work: "I've got you babe / don't stop believin' babe / more than a feelin' babe / I want you to want me babe / kickstart my heart babe." A tour this year opening for Top 40 darlings the Fray may not be the best influence for the band's continued musical development, but it will undoubtedly give them some well-deserved exposure. With Air Stereo, the Damnwells seem ready for whatever success comes their way.