For whatever reason lately, I can’t get enough of the whole “loner folk” thing—first Albert DeMuth’s self-titled came along, and now this album. Don’t be fooled by the name; Amen Dunes is the one-man band led by Damon McMahon, helped out by a number of guests.
Whereas DeMuth’s record was deliberately cryptic, dark, and abstract, “Cowboy Worship” has a bit of a softer, warmer overall tone. While experimentation pops up here and there, such as the random conversation at the end of “I Know Myself (Montreal)” and the ghostly electronic touches at the end of “Love (Montreal),” the focus is mostly on McMahon’s voice and guitar.
Cowboy Worship is a record of shifting moods—”I Know Myself (Montreal)” opens up the album beautifully with soaring vocals and shimmering ambiance, but the second track dives into unsettling territory with a cover of Tim Buckley (or rather a cover of a cover, as the Sacred Bones site points out, since this is a take on This Mortal Coil’s version rather than the original).
Much like DeMuth’s debut, Cowboy Worship may take a couple of spins to fully sink in—despite the folky/psychedelic edge it does get dark in places, but it’s also the kind of record that rewards a patient listener.