Hailing from Texas this four-piece are a hard touring band, with their highlights being consecutive appearances at Rocklahoma in 2014 and 2015.
Damaged opens with a searing solo courtesy of Kevin Sauceda, who also handles lead the vocals, and never really lets up.
Sauceda’s slightly gruff vocal style lends itself to the sleazier end of the rock spectrum but this album is a lot more polished than that. The songs are fast-paced, well-constructed and clearly suited to live performance which they pride themselves on.
Ratchet Dolls are completed by Sam Longoria on rhythm guitar, Frank X Salinas on bass and with JJ Gomez on drums. They are a tight unit playing straight up, no frills rock n roll. Although some tracks can feel a bit formulaic, the album does have its highlights.
“Sugar Sweet” is my particular favorite, a pacey track with well-balanced guitar work lifting the song to another level.
If there is a criticism to be made of Damaged it is the fact that we have to wait until the final track of 11 for a change of pace. “Reality” comes under the ‘ballad’ section and is very much welcome. It is a strong song with heartfelt singing and guitaring although Kevin Sauceda’s voice may be more suited to the noisier tracks, hence its location at the end of the album.
Damaged is a strong debut from a clearly committed band but I do feel that it would benefit from a touch more variety.