Dame Satan – Beaches & Bridges

Dame Satan

This is beautiful.  At times like a slightly more ethereal version of the Cave Singers, at times even evoking seventies British psych-folk, they even end up with spooky, reverby guitar growls reminiscent of the Low Lows from time to time.

It’s not an immediate hit, however.  This is the kind of album you have to ease yourself into with a few listens, I think.  The pace is very, very slow for the most part, and it leaves you prone to distraction as you listen.  The vocals are like some desert choirboy gone badly astray, which makes the excruciatingly slow washes of guitar even more threatening.

The dance between folk and low-fi indie is a well judged one, it has to be said.  The way the album slips back and forth between the two mirrors the way the layers of the songs build in gentle, yet insistent gusts as more and more tension is steadily added to the mix.  Dawn & Delta is a classic example.  It starts out at a barely conscious whisper, and builds to the most restrained of crescendoes, embellished with just a little guitar noodling which could have come from the guitar of Richard Thompson.  It is followed by Puget Sound, possibly the song most remimniscent of that sound on the whole album, switching gears just a little, after sounding more closely related to Americana for the first handful of songs.

Why is this important?  Well, it’s more to illustrate the richness of what’s going on here.  I honestly was in danger of dismissing this when I first heard, with a casual ‘all the same’ shrug.  The variety really is there, however, if you give it the chance to make itself known.  It would be a real shame to dismiss this record too easily, because it really doesn’t deserve it.

Dame Satan, incidentally, is the name of a bomber from the Second World War, in case you were wondering.  It is slightly misleading in a sense, but once you know the provenance then it fits, in its own way.  I like this band, and I look forward to hearing more.

Dame Satan – Suffering Daughter
[audio:http://www.matthewjamesyoung.com/sbt/SufferingDaughter.mp3]

Dame Satan – Country Thief
[audio:http://www.matthewjamesyoung.com/sbt/CountryThief.mp3]

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