The new record from Amen Dunes, Freedom, out on Sacred Bones tomorrow, is the sort of release that has a lot of easy charm, even for folks like me who are relatively late to the band. For long-time fans of Amen Dunes, I'm sure there's also a lot to love here.
Numbers like "Blue Rose" and "Skipping School" possess a sound that made me think of recent tracks from The War on Drugs, while the far more supple "Time" uses a variety of textures underneath Damon McMahon's voice to great effect. Elsewhere, the spry "Miki Dora" and the subtly-rhythmic "Dracula" are memorable and engaging, McMahon here offering up fairly natural performances. The 2 longer songs that close Freedom, work so well largely thanks to Beach House producer Chris Coady's efforts here. "Freedom" and "L.A." unfurl at languid paces, McMahon riding the grooves with his voice masterfully. This is not all entirely original -- and listeners to the last 2 War on Drugs records will agree with me there -- but the songs of Amen Dunes here retain a certain imprecise charm, the wisps of hooks lingering in the head just long enough to make a listener really dig this record, and want to throw a few of these cuts on mixes for the car, for those late-night drives down the highway.
[Photo: Michael Schmelling]