Amen Dunes unfolds a paean on the human condition in “Round The World”

We’re a month out from the release of Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes‘ new album Death Jokes and having already heard “Purple Land” and “Boys” we now have the nine-minute “Round The World”.

The piano melody that runs through the song was improvised by McMahon in 2019 and took several more years to come to completion. Reportedly it took years to annotate the piano arrangement as it’s constantly changing. He couldn’t easily perform it and tried to get two pianists to record it, but both also failed. He persisted though and finally came to realise the shapeshifting, enigmatic, sample-filled final product in all its glory after years of toil.

Even before diving into the lyricism, it’s clear that “Round The World” is an all-encompassing sweep of McMahon’s views of life and the lessons it brings to us all. His words are scattershot and lines are often incomplete, but at other moments his vision comes through clearly in bittersweet memories of childhood and early adulthood. Whether these are autobiographical reflections of fictional, there are somehow universal truths in them, rendered in his characteristic voice. Just as it seems to be trailing off, a beat kicks in and his vocal goes into a spasmodic loop, carrying the song into its hypnagogic and brilliant finale, where it sounds like his soul is disassembling and disseminating into the universe.

Watch the video for “Round The World” below or find the song on streamers.

Amen Dunes’ new album Death Jokes arrives on May 10 through Sub Pop (pre-order/save). You can find Amen Dunes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Live dates:

Wed. May 8 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
Fri. May 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Bellwether
Wed. May 15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel

Mon. July 1 – Paris, FR @ Trabendo
Wed. July 3 – Berlin, DE @ Gretchen
Fri. July 5 – Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival
Sun. July 7 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
Tue. July 9 – London, UK @ KOKO

Fri. July 19 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival

Tue. Aug. 13 – Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall
Wed. Aug. 14 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox
Fri. Aug 16 – Vancouver, BC @ The Pearl

Thu. Sep. 5 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground
Fri. Sep. 6 – Washington D.C. @ Black Cat
Sun. Sep. 8 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
Tue. Sep. 10 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
Wed. Sep. 11 – Austin, TX @ Empire Garage
Fri. Sep. 13 – Denver, CO @ Summit
Tue. Sep. 17 – Toronto, ON @ Concert Hall
Wed. Sep. 18 – Montreal, QC @ Studio