The first record from Long Island-based Cold Memory is strikingly ambitious for a debut: the 18 songs cover a wide array of angles on relationships with the overarching theme of finding the surprising things that keep people connected. They exhibit an assured wisdom regarding the power of music -- "all the songs you know are damaged," the disc begins, "but the radio still plays" -- as well as a strong sense of how to manipulate instruments and tempos to evoke various emotions. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Damage/No Damage is the poetic input of lyricist Joseph Weissman, whose role as an associate member of the band appears to mirror Robert Hunter's lyrical role with the Grateful Dead. Only a few of the 18 tracks here can really be considered filler, and many of them fit comfortably alongside the more successful contemporaneous works of Jimmy Eat World and the Strokes, the ballad "We're Alone" being a particularly strong effort. The album had no chance of high visibility with its release on a minuscule indie label, but stands as one of the better modern rock releases from the summer of 2002.
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AllMusic Review by Joseph McCombs