Offering up everything from twang-tinged melodic pop to full-fledged country rock, Long Beach based Damngivers have delivered one damngood EP. With vocals somewhere between Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan, front-man Gerry Gomez has created a solid debut that’s as catchy as the finer moments of Wilco, yet captures the raw energy and power of 70s songwriters like Lou Reed or Neil Young.
Lyrically, Gomez has a knack for the witty side of things. Kicking off the momentum, with the cleverly titled, “Your Mouth Doesn’t Know What Your Mind Oughta,” the short but sweet, five song EP, takes turns from forlorn love pleas (“Lift Me Up”), to harmonious mid-tempo cuts (“Plan on Me,” “The Angler”), that are all as much personal commentary as they are life philosophy. With harmonica, pedal steel, electric guitar and an array of acoustic instruments, Damngivers are never shy on production value. Each song manages to have its own unique flare while remaining homogeneous as a whole.
Though Gomez certainly provides the good ol’ country hurt, with lyrics like “There’s a snowstorm frostin’ up your cold cold heart,” (“Lift Me Up), with dynamic arrangements in tow, he always manages to bring out the sunnier side of the So-Cal Sound. Closing out the album with “Stupid Things,” Gomez’s tongue-in-cheek take on love, this pop induced gem falls nothing short of taking listeners back to the days when Ryan Adams use to get MTV airplay: in other words, alt-country that is hooky enough to appeal to just about anyone, but rich enough in roots to command respect from classic purists.
This first effort from a savvy and diverse artist, proves to be yet another contribution to the slew of the fine music that is coming out of the Southern California area. The Damngivers are playing shows in and around Los Angeles, and if their live performances come anywhere close to the uplifting energy they master here, then they are a band Angelenos won’t want to miss.
For more information on Damngivers, visit: http://www.damngivers.com
with Mark Lennon Band
Monday, December 5
The Bull Bar
Saturday, December 17
Wednesday, December 28
Marina del Rey