Barely into his twenties, Oakland's Dave Smallen (aka Street to Nowhere) possesses the confidence that lesser singer-songwriters chase their entire careers. His debut full-length wastes no time saying so: punk/power-pop opener "Screamin'" pairs hooks aplenty with violin swells that submerge the guitar-bass-drums triad. Courtesy of mentor Matt Radosevich (Good Charlotte, the Matches), Charmingly Awkward's production is bright and punchy, capturing Smallen's irrepressible energy and ability to belt like few indie rockers ever will. He fares equally well mining the acoustic ache of "Georgia, Can You Hear Me?" and rumbling through the folk-punk basher "Dead Cliché." Although uneven, Charmingly Awkward nonetheless introduces one of the Bay Area's youngest and brightest talents.
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