Thursday, April 5, 2018

Amen Dunes - Freedom

Damon McMahon, aka Amen Dunes, has proved himself to be a musical shapeshifter over his career to date, as well as an exacting craftsman.  As revealed in his new album, Freedom, his current version is our favorite yet, combining accessible pop tunes and appealing grooves with darkly shaded meditations on life, mortality, masculinity, relationships and human foibles.  The album was three years in the making, but the reward for the listener is perfectly formed songs, combining guitars, synths, and crisp percussion to provide a glimmering, swaggering platform for McMahon's passionate and expressive vocals.  These are songs that are vulnerable yet confident, spiritual yet profane and gritty.  Redemption may be in the sky or in the gutter, or maybe nowhere at all.  But this is the perfect soundtrack to contemplate the possibilities.

I don't know what kind of freedom McMahon is looking for, if any.  Maybe it is just the freedom you grant to yourself to look at the past, remember, judge, and forgive.  Maybe it is the freedom to clean out the corners of the emotional attic and move on with life.  Maybe it will give you a journey to freedom, as well as immediate pleasure.  And you'll dance -- even if you are crying.  McMahon has said that "[y]ou make art to make good art, you don't make art to get accolades."  While we appreciate the sentiment, we believe that good art deserves accolades regardless of expectations, and we suggest that Freedom deserves accolades -- and your ears.  Suggested listening approaches: (1) Earphones; or (2) Driving at night with a good audio system.

Freedom is out now in vinyl, CD and digital formats via Sacred Bones Records.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Freedom
Sacred Bones Records

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