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Album Review

Boston's Dambuilders thankfully didn't conform themselves for the sake of their major-label debut. If anything, the opening moments of the grating "Copsucker" showed that they were ready to scream louder and rawer than they had in the past. The only noticeable change — and a refreshing one at that — is that the slightly polished production helps bring out the band's striking melodies and the tenderness in Dave Derby's vocals (at their most inspired on "Smell"), which serves a wider assortment of dramatics than any of the band's previous compositions. Joan Wasser's violin evolves as the primary rhythmic force, and the strength of her playing on the driving "Kill Haole Day" or the minor alternative radio hit "Shrine" assures that the strings will never be categorized simply as a modern rock novelty. Continuing their quest to write a song for every state, the band serves up "Delaware" and a slightly glossed over version of their former "Idaho."


Formed: 1989 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Formed in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1989, the alternative pop band the Dambuilders originally comprised vocalist/bassist Dave Derby and guitarist Eric Masunaga, both formerly of the Exactones. Shortly after forming, the duo recorded a demo, dubbed A Young Person's Guide, which mysteriously made its way to Europe, where it landed at the offices of the Berlin-based label Cuacha; with only minor remixing, the label soon released the tapes as an LP, and the band subsequently toured Germany. Upon returning...
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Encendedor, The Dambuilders
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