DAMSELS comes to us out of the Providence Rhode Island scene and lays on their thick style of experimental jams on their new album Something Fancy. These are interesting times in metal for bands that aren’t scared to take chances with style and writing scope. Although fans and labels alike sometimes suffer from up-turned nose elitism, this is also a time when some of the most vibrant and exciting artists like THE DILINGER ESCAPE PLAN, EVERY TIME I DIE (whom DAMSELS borrow from heavily) and IWRESTLEDABEARONCE are carving out their own path to glory. Why some bands catch and some don’t we may never know, but it is important to know the difference between talent and calculated randomness. DAMSELS seems to fall into the former category.
Best described as a maelstrom of styles piled on each other that somehow still works, one thing that hits you right away is how heavy they are. After the intro track “Teddy Bear Bombs” just explodes in your ear piece. Jagged riffs, killer beats and insane slow breakdowns flavor the track. Vocalist Jonny annoys frequently with his nasally scream, but his guttural vocals are terrific. I wonder if he loves MR. BUNGLE too much to change it up a little more, but I suspect this guy is holding back a little too in terms of range. His comedic timing is also golden. Their drummer Eric is also terrific, as is bassist Scotty. These guys really stand out track after track. Careening through several stylistic changes in just a few minutes time this cut sets that standard the rest of the album lives up to. “We Put a Light In the Bathroom (Ladies Night)” is next and is right out of the ETID playbook of angular math rock. Still, the track is high in energy and full of chunk. Guitarist Tejay (TJ?) has a great style that is heavy, harsh and wild. “Give Me Back My Hat Roger Williams” is a funny tongue in cheek ripper that suffers from the verses with the double layered vocals. I’m not sure how they account for this live or if one of the other guys also sings, but the effect should be done away with. Other than that the track is strong and would be a great show opener or closer with its made for moshing beats and chords. Two other likely hits in the making are “Leper Lapdance” and “Danny Glover Banged Your Mother”. These guys have the requisite goods to go really far, but I fear they will be seen as a mere novelty band if they don’t reign themselves in a little more and pay attention to what the songs need. If they get teamed up with a great producer on their next album, watch out!