Damfino – Disembodied Smile (2015)

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Joe Merklee and Joel Bachrach, who both sing, write songs and play a broad range of instruments, are the core cats behind Damfino. But here on Disembodied Smile, their latest EP, the New Jersey-based collaborators receive assistance from guitarist and drummer Oliver Ignatius, bassist Tom Shad, and drummers Zac Coe and Carson Moody.

A six-track offering, Damfino’s Disembodied Smile moves down the middle, down the line, and all around with clever pop-rock customs. By overlapping traditional melodies and arrangements with adventurous shifts and slopes, Damfino has cooked up a fetching sound that balances comfort with an unsettling edginess twitching with pure and natural energy.

Fuzzy power pop guitars and casual harmonies cap the bristling bounce of “Consideration,” and “Other Friends” buzzes to a brawny beat born of slamming garage rock chords and spiraling organ fills. A calm and quiet tenor is cast on Damfino’s piano-driven “Skin Compass,” while “A Good Time To Be Lonely” is also emphasized by a run of appealing ivory exercises.

Light and lovely textures mix well with the harder rocking segments on Disembodied Smile, making for a recording that varies in mood, yet still manages to sustain a cohesive quality. Poppy vocals, blended with jerky rhythms and angular hooks, aim to revive memories of bands like the dBs and XTC. Echoes of Teenage Fan Club are further heard throughout the songs, but Damfino’s lyrics and music are personalized enough to distinguish them from their influences.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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