I only listened to the album because the cover was really striking (there’s boobs! – but seriously, it’s a beautiful cover) but then immediately was captured by the kind of singer/songwriter you immediately imagining sitting somewhere in a shitty apartment in the late 80s in New York, smoking cigarettes and strumming on the guitar while the sun slowly dawns. The dude behind the music is Damon McMahon who originated in Great Britain but then moved to New York with his brother, founded a band, broke up with the band and released a few largely improvised solo-albums of the psychedelic kind. His newest record, “Love”, is a little more structured and was created with some fellow musicians, namely Jordi Wheeler and Parker Kindred.
Just imagine that The Black Angels one day decided that they wanted to do an album that honors Lou Reed (“Spirits are Parted”) and David Bowie (“Sixteen”) and you might have an idea how Amen Dunes sounds. The overall result is quite striking (a lot more striking than my clunky comparison). The vocals are echoing through the lo-fi guitar-bits, the drums subtly peak through the soft fuzz, there is a foggy quality to the whole sound as if you are dreaming it and can never really grasp it. There is also a bunch of Godspeed You! Black Emperor-musicians working on the album who are in the Black Mountain-collective that has The Black Angels as members, so maybe I am not that off after all.
I like to think that this is the kind of album that a gangly teenager accidentally buys because he/she likes the album cover (’cause boobies!) and then gets completely enwrapped with it and cherishes it like a bible. Because it has this sort of timeless sound that takes you on a ride through your own musical memories and – at least for me – it immediately feels like the kind of album you seriously fall in love with and just carry around for ages to fill every single cell of yours with these ghostly echoes that sing of good things, of love and hope and time. And if all that fails, there’s always boobs…*
*It’s the rule of three, people, read it up, that’s some high-quality comedy right here.