Music has always been a way to achieve catharsis when dealing with life issues that can seem overwhelming at times. Dumont musician Joe Merklee recently went through a divorce and turned to what he does best to try to come to terms during this emotional time. With his good friend Joel Bachrach he formed Damifino and released the moving Crossed Eyes And Mixed Motives. His Sea Change. Luckily the process worked and led the band quickly back to the studio to record the new follow-up EP Disembodied Smile. This is the sound of a band moving into the light and relishing the pure joy of creating music.
The album opens with the power pop fun of “Consideration” and if there was any question that things are looking brighter one look no further than lines such as “Things are looking better in every way” and “The darkest night is finally over”. The song flies by in just under 2 minutes and is a thrill. It is a Replacements like love song. Speaking of The Mats, next is “Plane Song” which makes a great companion piece to the Minneapolis band’s “Waitress in the Sky”. There is some funky organ here and the warm vocals and harmonies. The song also has one of my favorites lyrics of the year “People magazine I know it’s wrong, but cover to cover it’s how low I’ve sunk”. Some great guitar work here as well.
“Skin Compass” is a short but gorgeous number highlighted by exquisite strings and quiet guitar. The gentle, echoey vocals are poignant and a nice touch. My favorite song on the album. Slice of life song “Spot”, about finding a possible skin tumor no less, and the bar rocking romp “Other Friends” lead us to the final track “A Good Time to be Lonely”. An beautiful and introspective ballad that suggests there has been an acceptance of circumstances. An emotional truce with ones self. A stunner.
The album, recorded at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen in Brooklyn, shows the power music has to help all of us, creators and listeners, get through the tough times.
You can pick up Disembodied Smile at Damfino’s Bandcamp page here.
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