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Damone: From the Attic

Kristina Francisco


From the Attic

Label: RCA
US Release Date: 2003-04-01
UK Release Date: 2003-04-07

Getting dumped sucks, but according to Dave Pino, guitarist and songwriter for pop-rock outfit Damone, getting dumped by someone who's hot sucks even more. When Pino's "really friggin' hot girlfriend" (his words) dumped his ass in 1996, the aspiring musician was working at a carwash and was, needless-to-say, depressed. So what did the then-18-year-old do? He sat in his basement and wrote a couple of songs (about 80 of them actually), all odes to his former flame to try to win her back. Sadly, the "friggin' hot girlfriend" didn't like the ditties, so Pino had to come up with another game plan. In 2001, he decided to start a band because, as we all know, girls go wild for rock stars. And that, my friends, is how Damone was born.

In a little town called Waltham just outside of the metro-Boston area, Pino hooked up with pal Vazquez (yup, just Vazquez, that's all the bassist goes by) and looked to rock out in their sleepy working class suburb. They quickly picked up drummer Dustin Hengst and found singer Noelle (yup, just Noelle, that's all the singer goes by) at a Waltham teen hangout. Named after a character from '80s cult classic Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Damone is the kind of band whose music reminds you of the trials and tribulations of being a teenager.

The 11 songs off From The Attic, Damone's major label debut off RCA, were culled from Pino's heartache over said "friggin' hot girlfriend", and details his loneliness and token teen angst from the time. The result is a record that ultimately makes you wish you were a teenager again, laying in your room, listening to albums and pining over some crush you thought was your world.

Dave was basically a 16-year-old girl when he was 18," says Noelle, who has yet to graduate from high school. (When the frontgirl took to the mic, all she needed to do to Pino's songs was flip the gender pronouns to suit her.) With lyrics like "The phone can ring but I don't care / 'Cause you're mine / The world can end and that's okay / 'Cause you're mine / Inside I only care about the one I love / And you are number one to me / The one I love" off "On My Mind", From The Attic features the best teen emotions that could have soundtracked any John Hughes flick.

Most songs have Noelle singing like a better, hipper Avril Lavigne, and on some, she could be classified as a younger, punker Liz Phair with an emo band backing her. (This is apparent on songs like "Up to You".) "Overchay with Me", which could easily be something off an early Weezer album, has Noelle lamenting, "I sit around to read your note / I read it over and over / I think about you and fall asleep / And dream." Oh the aches of teenage heartbreak!

"Leave Me Alone" closes From The Attic with an older, slower vibe, departing from the skater-emo feel Damone holds on the other tracks. In the album-closer, Noelle whispers, "I thought I made it clear / I don't want you here / I thought that you'd be friggin' bored by now / And all the words you know / Is I want you to go", once again revealing the frustration of Pino's breakup. Other standout tracks are "Frustrated Unnoticed", "You and I", "On My Mind", and "At the Mall".

Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, From The Attic is a pretty good record from a suburban band that may soon end up joining the MTV2 rotation. Though Damone has adequately captured teen romance in 11 songs, could that ultimately lead to the band's downfall -- is this the only sound that Pino and friends create? Only time will tell, but the future seems bright for these kids who've already played the Vans Warped Tour and have toured with Andrew W.K., Mooney Suzuki, the Ataris and Further Seems Forever.

So whatever happened to Pino and the girl who once rejected him? Well in a strange turn of events, five years after Pino, now in his twenties, wrote those 80 or so songs, the "friggin' hot girlfriend" decided to give it another shot with the guy -- proving once again that girls do indeed go wild for rock stars.

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