On paper, with contributions from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Colin
Stetson and Iceage and Vår frontman Elias Bender Ronnenfelt,
‘Love’ is a record that is as potentially exciting as it is curious and unpredictable.
However, the results are not quite the sprawling mass of oddness they could be.
Instead it is song- and structure-heavy, recalling ‘golden age’ classic rock via the zeitgeist looking-glass template adopted by the likes of Kurt Vile and the War on Drugs.
On ‘Love’, Amen Dunes becomes more than just the solo project of the Brooklyn-based Damon McMahon and more band and collaboration focused,
resulting in a refined, polished affair with production that endlessly shimmers.
It’s an album that captures hazy mornings, with sun seeping in through squinted eyes as clearly as it does secluded,
wintery isolation surrounded by a glistening morning frost.
It has a radiating hue, a firm sense of presence and atmosphere and, above all, Amen Dunes Love
it’s a record packed with subtlety and delicacy; one wrapped up in endless bounds of wistful layers.
That’s partly the case; the guitars on ‘Inu’ merely imply menace, although
Taigen Kawabe’s initially reserved vocal is borderline maniacal by the
‘Maki-Modoshi’, meanwhile, begins in steady, restrained fashion, but the drums quickly collapse and so does any hint of a time signature.
‘Slider’ sees a first foray into English lyricism, but is far more notable for
its furious instrumental break at the midpoint.
‘Ogosokana’, scored by walls of reverb and echoed vocals, is probably as close as Bo Ningen have ever been to balladry,
but closer ‘Kaifuku’, with its constant changes of pace, sums up ‘III’ neatly; not quite the controlled brand of chaos the band were apparently hoping for.
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