Thursday, 31 May 2012
Donkey Jaw In The Dunes
Seeing as the past few days has had me delving into some back catalogue stuff, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to talk about this record that has been slaying me all over again the past couple weeks. When Damon McMahon AKA Amen Dunes first came onto the scene, I was a little nonplussed. Unlike my first impressions of John Maus (that I didn't "get" it), the New Yorker just didn't grab me the way that other psych bands did. I appreciated some of his efforts - I was an immediate fan of 'Two Thousand Islands' and a couple other tracks off 2009's DIA - but I thought that Amen Dunes were going to be one of those bands that lots of people dug, but I didn't. It happens.
But then Through Donkey Jaw happened. When Sacred Bones put this out, as you can guess I didn't jump all over it like a virginal teen. I still felt that, whilst McMahon could straddle genres like a cowboy astride a rampant bull, he sometimes got swept away by the power of his ambitions - or even trampled underneath them. Not so here. The chopping and changing from drone to fuzzed out psych to intricate guitar meltdowns to falsetto soirees. McMahon's vocals transcend here, yet such confidence is evident across the board. His new-found band have helped to graft flesh on the bones, but truth be told they are only augmenting what is clearly inherent here. McMahon, and therefore Amen Dunes, are getting better with time. The erraticism fits within the paradigm of the band aesthetic now, much more controlled than its scattershot predecessors.
It's funny how much of an about-turn Through Donkey Jaw has been for me. If you haven't checked it out, you are doing yourself a major disservice. You can grab the record from Sacred Bones here.
Amen Dunes - Baba Yaga
Amen Dunes - Jill