Downs on the upside

Damon Downs She's Pretty When She Smiles
Damon Downs She's Pretty When She Smiles

AS the nights draw in with the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, one record is helping to keep warm the memories of sunnier days.

She’s Pretty When She Smiles is the latest album by Derbyshire’s Damon Downs.

Kicking off with the summery funked-up feel of I Don’t Mind, it’s clear he deals in deft slices of grown-up pop.

With jazzy guitar and sweet harmonies it puts a smile on your face, like a shaft of summer sunshine.

Next up is Older, another tall glass of effervescent pop with more hook than my golf swing - while Heart In Pieces is heartfelt and quietly epic.

But the 15 tracks here are far from constrained by a single feel, style or genre.

Shape of A Lie has a Cuban feel, including some slightly over-enthusiastic congas and It’s Love is a driving 12-bar work out that T-Rex could feel proud of.

Times Is A Great Healer has the feel of a bluesy Del Amitri, while Chance to Change rocks out good and proper - although this is the one sound that perhaps doesn’t do Damon’s voice justice.

Elsewhere there are hints of the Gin Blossoms, Incubus and Damien Rice as Damon and his band flex their creative muscles.

What all the tracks do have in common though, is an honesty and openness.

The songs may not exactly be edgy or push the envelope, but like the girl in the album title they have have an attractive warmth which makes them hard not to love.

She’s Pretty When She Smiles is available via iTunes. For more on the band, check out