Amen Dunes is the sole project of Damon McMahon, who in the past has preferred a one-take and done attitude to all his work, almost improvisational, and because mystery is under-valued, anything else you want to know about the back-story you can find out for yourself. So it wouldn’t have been un-reasonable if McMahon had have applied McDonald’s ‘that’ll do’ burger-making approach to LOVE, but the end result is a refined conscientious product, close to a year and a half of continuous work.
LOVE is deceptively simple, on the surface it appears to be little more than a fragile- cracking voice over a couple of instruments for 50 minutes, which I suppose it is, but there are so many under-lying details hidden, it takes a few listens to really appreciate and understand sufficiently.
Released on Sacred Bones, home to all manner of brow-raising effed-up music like Factums, Slug Guts, Nerve City, and David Lynch, LOVE is also a little oddity in the same vain as those that makes its home quite comfortably here
Lead single ‘Lonely Richard’ is a bed of twanging guitars and a screeching violin which should really be a musical car-crash, topped with almost slurred vocals; it has everything that a song shouldn’t have but the result is something that wouldn’t have been to out of place in HBO’s recent ‘True Detective’ drama. Which if you’ve seen it, should re-iterate the f*cked up/ oddity point made earlier. ‘Splits Are Parted’ hosts some trembling vocals that suggest McMahon might have spent too long out in the cold the night before, but if there ever was a case for Hypothermia being a musical tool, this is a pretty strong one.
Amen Dunes’ last two efforts 2011’s ‘Through Donkey Jaw’ and 2009s ‘DIA’ were very much written to the same script of muffled eerie-pop with subtle traces of fuzz laden without. But ‘Love’ is, without being sick all down myself, a much more heart-felt and deepened statement with real intent to branch-out further.
Love is released May 13th on Sacred Bones.
You can also stream the whole album here. Via Pitchfork Advance.