The Damnations TX

Where It Lands

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Losing the cumbersome TX appendage from their name while simultaneously and amicably severing their ties from Sire (from whom they bought back the rights to this album's songs), the Damnations have self-released a sophomore collection that highlights their eclectic influences. From the raucous cowpunk of "New Hope Cemetery" to the dreamy and dusty R&B of "Quarter in the Couch" to the straightforward folksy twang of "Bloodhound," sisters Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly write rootsy Americana-based songs with memorable melodies. This indie release gives them more room to explore potentially non-commercial waters than their major-label debut, as on the languorous "Steeple Full of Swallows," the album's centerpiece, which unwinds at a leisurely pace over its five-minute length. The female Everly Brothers tag is inescapable, especially on "Bloodhound," where the sisters' exquisite harmonies and acoustic guitars feel warmly organic and completely natural. A peppy cover of Doug Sahm's Tex-Mex "Wanna Be Your Mama" (originally titled "I Wanna Be Your Mama Again") fits in perfectly with the sisters' originals that dominate the disc. A short, atmospheric banjo-led instrumental, "Tora Tora Tora," adds some subtle Ry Cooder flavor, but it's on the album-closing "Time to Go Home" that the elements combine to produce a moving, edgy ballad with twitchy electric guitars that summarizes the band's Indigo Girls-styled vocals and high lonesome sound. Only the disc's abbreviated length (just over a half hour) keeps it from being a definitive statement.

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