Since the dissolution of ‘90s indie pop-rockers The Dambuilders, singer-instrumentalist-writer Dave Derby has focused upon a variety of projects, one being Gramercy Arms, a New York City-based outfit whose self-titled ’08 debut established a revolving member, indie all-star affair. Roughly six years has elapsed, and now Derby has coordinated a follow-up. The Seasons of Love features unfussy professionalism and a slightly broadened scope; while not a consciousness-altering record, it does go down smoothly enough, and fans of pop-rock song-craft should take note.
Though they released seven full-lengths across a near decade of existence, Boston via Honolulu’s The Dambuilders received their highest profile as a four-piece in the mid-‘90s. Part of the era’s indie deluge, the first three LPs came out through German imprint Cuacha! NYC’s SpinART issued the Tough Guy Problem 10-inch/CD EP in ’94 shortly prior to the group’s emergence on the roster of EastWest Records.
That Atlantic-subsidiary funded The Dambuilders’ best work, ‘94’s Encendedor and the next year’s Ruby Red. As was the case with many of their indie-to-major contemporaries, the band’s last statement, ‘97’s transitional Against the Stars, was a disappointment. Subsequent to breaking up in ‘98, guitarist Eric Masunaga went into film, opening a studio specializing in post-production, drummer Kevin March continued beating the skins, most prominently in one of Guided by Voices numerous lineups, and violinist/vocalist Joan Wasser embarked solo under the name Joan as Police Woman.
Bassist/lead singer Derby has kept himself quite occupied as well, initiating the side-project Brilliantine, hooking up with Lloyd Cole in the cult Brit’s post-Commotions ensemble the Negatives and completing two solo albums, ‘03’s solid Even Further Behind and ‘07’s borderline excellent Dave Derby and the Norfolk Downs. He commenced Gramercy Arms not long thereafter.