"A keen sense of how to drag 1968's Van Morrison into 2014" is how Mike Sugarman of the wonderful blog Ad Hoc describes Damon McMahon's latest effort as psych-rock outfit Amen Dunes. And while Sugarman is certainly describing the primordial backing of slide guitars and abrading violins, the "mystic" element of Morrison's '68 work is equally important. Guest Elias Bender Ronnenfelt’s (frontman of Danish punk-band Iceage) vocals have none of the power Morrison so effortlessly wielded, but every bit of the allure. "Know yourself" he croaks so faintly you only want to draw closer. Meeting Ronnenfelt face-to-face becomes impossible however when the woebegone "have yourself a good time" spills forth. It's the sort of wish you send someone when you know you'll never be able to experience the same thing yourself.
David Bryant and Efrim Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor produced all of Love and their sense of emboldened defeat is unmistakable in "Lonely Richard". For all of the sad-sack sentiments, Ronnenfelt continues to dole out Daisy-era aphorisms. Rudimentary, the drums march on while the guitars can do nothing other than cry. Yet somehow surrounded by such isolation, a company of voices comes through the fog to deliver a freeing chant of "do-do-do." Whatever is over the horizon isn't as far off as you'd think.
Love is out May 13th on Sacred Bones Records.