Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes has returned with his first new music since his 2018 classic Freedom. This one finds him working with previous collaborator Panoram, co-producing with Ariel Rechtshaid, and, most exciting, dabbling and dueting with Sleaford Mods.
McMahon has long espoused his adoration for British music, so it’s a natural fit for him to work with the Sleafords. “Feel Nothing” begins in a classic Amen Dunes style, a seeming continuation of Freedom in the way it finds him occupying that very fine line between pain and beauty, strung out on life as he sings “Don’t drag me down with you / Some days wish I was dead”, while behind him is a gorgeously glowing spectrum of synths and an infectious rhythm. We wash with him down the plughole, as he drifts further into depression (“Can’t remember what to say / Can’t shake this ugly feeling, baby, but it’s not lasting”), but the insistence of the beat keeps the song afloat.
Around two thirds through, “Feel Nothing” suddenly dissolves into static and then rebuilds into a Madchester-echoing euphoric indie sound, and Sleafords’ Jason Williamson slides perfectly into the picture. His voice wafts down from above, as if he’s some kind of deity witnessing McMahon in his pain, reaching out to him and offering him strength to continue. It’s in this latter part that we get a glimpse of where McMahon might take the Amen Dunes sound in further outings – and boy is it exciting.