Juliana Hatfield, the Damnwells

On her new In Exile Deo, professional indie babe Juliana Hatfield makes a serious move away from the scrappy guitar-pop of her college-radio past toward the mature songcraft of the Aimee Mann set. You know what this means: slower tempos, lots of keyboards, a handful of metaphors so painful I'll spare you their repetition here. Hatfield handles the new turf just fine--her baby-talk coo has aged with aplomb--but much of the music could do with a charge of energy we hope the live performance will provide. New Yorkers the Damnwells muster plenty of energy on Bastards of the Beat; they just have to figure out a way to rip off the Replacements less obviously.


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