Amen Dunes


Written by: BV on 18/08/2014 00:47:04

Not too long ago, I fell in love with an album called ”Through Donkey Jaw”. At the time I didn’t know the album title or the name of the artist but I had heard the album in its entirety in a local record store. I had actually finished my business there, but lingered on and browsed through the records another time while the album played out via the loud speakers. Following that experience I had gone up to the owner of the record store and asked him who the artist was. The answer was Amen Dunes. The text above pretty much sums up my reasons for writing a review of this very album, as I honestly believe there is something apparent, unique and honest to the music of Amen Dunes – and given the chance to hear more of it and even write about, I didn’t see how I could pass that up.

I don’t know exactly how to describe Amen Dunes, to be honest. There are obvious psychedelic folk roots in there, as can be heard on album opener “White Child” which carries itself via a low-key acoustic guitar and Damon McMahon’s quite characteristic vocal work. The vocal work seems to be the dominant key factor of the album, as basically every song from “White Child” to album closer and title track “Love” is carried by the airy and quirky vocals of McMahon. As “Splits Are Parted” opens with the ever-present acoustic guitar and the strange effects in the background, it seems entirely relevant to state that the soundscape of Amen Dunes has actually gone through quite a development as the production and the soundscape as a whole stands quite pristine – as opposed to the more murky, loner-folk reminiscent surroundings of “Through Donkey Jaw”. Ironically “Love” still has the same naïve charm to it that “Through Donkey Jaw” had, and while most other bands transcend from murky to pristine in a not-so-elegant fashion, the progression seems like a natural extension of the sound that has come to be characterized by Amen Dunes.

“I Can’t Dig It” veers significantly off course when compared to the rest of the album. Whilst most of the other tracks emphasize the delicate vocals and the softly played acoustic guitars, “I Can’t Dig It” is a reverberating wall of aggression that screams of teenage angst. It’s charming to say the least and serves as a great break from an otherwise relaxed album that might lull certain people to sleep. Every album needs that up tempo track at some point and I am glad to hear that “Love”, as an album, is no exception to this formula.

By the time the album culminates with the grandiose, piano-driven title track, not much is actually left to say about Amen Dunes. All the things that make the album, as well as this track, special have already been stated. What I would like to have heard more of, though, is something in the vein of “Baba Yaga” from “Through Donkey Jaw” which was beyond meditative – a prime example of what a drone should be. For all the pristine acoustic moments on this album, I still feel like one of them could have been re-arranged to be more of a drone-track. Still, when all is said and done I can honestly say that I enjoyed “Love” quite a lot and I still feel like there are layers of sound that I have yet to actually notice in the music – ensuring that I probably won’t leave this album behind any time soon.

Download: White Child, Rocket Flare, Love, I Can’t Dig It
For The Fans Of: Morgan Delt, Quilt, Ian Skelly
Listen: Facebook

Release date 14.05.2014
Sacred Bones Records

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