The hook is an inviolable good, the Platonic ideal behind all the pop music, from Motown to the British Invasion to KSHE classics, stuck in our collective heads. But how fragile that ideal, and how quickly it turns into a dissipated shadow of itself. When Alex Dezen kicks off the Damnwells' new album, Air Stereo, with a string of song checks from "Radar Love" to "More Than a Feeling," he courts self-parody (the record plays like an AOR rock block of Fleetwood Mac, Soul Asylum and the Gin Blossoms) before finding a catchy, uplifting reason for being: to sing and rock along with whatever feels good even if you've heard it all before. And that's this Brooklyn band's secret: With commitment and spirit, they might make you believe you're hearing it for the first time.
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