Damiera – Quiet Mouths Loud Hands Release Date: June 24th, 2008 Record Label: Equal Vision
Back in 2007, Damiera faced a crisis when three fourths of the band split to pursue other ventures, leaving vocalist/guitarist Dave Raymond as the sole remaining pulse of his old band. Raymond picked up the pieces, plucked 2 new band members from Spirit of the Stairway and one from his daytime job as a producer and got back into the studio to record Quiet Mouth Loud Hands, the band’s second album and simultaneously its rebirth. The result is a more brooding and slightly more straightforward Damiera that still retains some of the excitement of the band’s debut album.
Upon first listen, the album seems like it take a completely different direction from the band’s old sound. Where are the double lead guitars and stop start time signatures? The answer is that much of the guitar technicality remains, it’s just hidden under a thicker production. The beefier production of Quiet Mouth Loud Hands is so heavily bass oriented that a lot of the higher end is pushed to the background so it might take a treble heavy mix to get the most out of the album. This new production lends itself well to the style but also gives the band a decidedly more pop feeling. With the production comes the introduction of more effects (both vocal and instrumental) as apparent on “Teacher, Preacher”, a large tangent from Damiera’s typical sound. Let’s get it out of the way now, yes, the beginning does kind of sound like a Maroon 5 song, but do not let that be your only opinion of the track because it eventually develops into a pretty good pop song. This track in particular is a pretty good example of the new territory the band explores on their sophomore outing. At first, the poppier sound left me with disappointment and a desire to listen to M(US)IC. The second play, the song didn’t sound so bad. Now, after a great amount of time with the album, I understand the direction Damiera decided to take and realize bands must evolve or the old sound will get stale.
The new sound does not permeate the entire album as there are still a few tracks that will keep old fans happy. The exciting “Nailbiter” and “Chromatica” would fit right in on the band’s debut. This leave Quiet Mouths Loud Hands with a “something for everyone” feel that will please purists while maybe winning over an entirely new crowd at the same time. In fact there is only one song on the album that did not eventually win me over after repeated listens. The album ends on a low note with “Trading Grins”, a borderline Timbaland produced sounding song that falls a little short when taken in context. The song just fails to develop completely and just doesn’t give the same level of excitement as the rest of the disc. Damiera have done it and avoided the sophomore slump while faced with an entire band face lift. Quiet Mouths Loud Hands might not be an album that clicks on the first listen, and if you don’t feel the need to listen to it again, so be it. To do this would be missing out on a solid pop/ post rock record with an incredible spectrum of sounds and growing potential. If this is how the band sounds with little time to get comfortable with each other, I can’t wait to see where the next album takes Damiera.
I know what you mean about them needing to change up their style to prevent the music from becoming stale. I had a hard time getting through all of M(US)IC and usually only listen to a song or two at a time. Maybe I'll find this album a little more compatible with my tastes. Thanks for the review.
I have been waiting a while to hear a review to see how others felt about this album, I was taken by surprise with this album, and I think it has grown on me. Teacher Preacher is definitely NOT Damiera they shouldn't have done that song IMO, although it is catchy pop song its just like every other song by a crappy pop group. They have so many high points on this album I am hopeful this will be successful for them,and for the most part this a great album so everyone should check them out. I agree with alot of points in your review, especially about the technicality buried under slick production. Nice review.