Dama Scout - gen wo lai (come with me) Music Album Reviews

Dama Scout - gen wo lai (come with me) Music Album Reviews
Nearly five years after their debut, the UK indie rockers return with a cinematic new sound and a determination to turn old hurt into healing catharsis.

Performed willingly or not, cultural assimilation is a nerve-wracking high-wire act, particularly from the vantage point of a child. Memorizing social scripts designed to erase you for the slightest deviation, but still at the mercy of familial expectations, there’s an added layer of anxiety: It can feel as if you’re never more than a classmate’s comment on the unfamiliar textures of your homemade lunch away from a painful fall from grace. Retroactively labeling these fears as purely symptomatic of self-hatred does little to smooth over the scars they’ve left behind.

It’s a process of self-discovery that Dama Scout vocalist Eva Liu—whose family immigrated from Hong Kong to the UK—knows well. She documents it obliquely across gen wo lai (come with me), exploring and exploiting the tense atmosphere of these diasporic blues. The band caught a small wave of buzz in 2017 from a self-titled EP that, for the most part, blended into the indie-rock landscape of the day: a mixture of tough but buoyant drums, jangling guitar hooks, and spaced-out, low-key vocals that might be best compared to psych-rock outfit Crumb just before their detour into hazy bedroom pop. Returning for a full-length nearly five years later, the London-based trio has instead lurched into a trajectory positioning it as a UK analogue to America’s reigning bad-trip therapists Spirit of the Beehive, weaving cryptic meditations on existential dread into a cinematic new sound. gen wo lai (come with me)’s unruly vignettes illuminate flashbulb memories of alienation to light the way on a healing journey through the past.

Rather than agonize over the bleeding, Dama Scout’s strategy in nursing these wounds is to peel off the bandage and let the cut breathe. The opening title track exemplifies this approach, meditating on the memory of Liu’s grandmother eating chicken feet over the seasick churn of bassy synthesizers; guitars and basslines slide in and out of phase before swallowing each other in a brief but satisfying cacophony that washes the creeping anxiety away. It’s here that Liu’s fragmented lyrical approach is at its most potent. Elsewhere, particularly on the sauntering “lonely udon,” the results are less rewarding: When the white-noise rush of studio flourishes appears to lift the track into catharsis, the sensation is one of meandering chaos, a premature rush to experimentation without narrative consequence.

These moments are mercifully few. For a band only now stretching beyond the limitations of an EP, Dama Scout reveal surprisingly assured production instincts, with an ambitious attention to detail. When they twist the EQ knobs into oblivion halfway through “dan dan bub”’s second chorus, pushing the entire song behind a wall of ambience, the effect pricks up your ears, building anticipation for the melody’s return as its chord progression sails out of reach. “emails from suzanne” goes even further. The slashing rhythm surges and decays in fits and starts, mirroring the pain of a mind that “Divides in places/Divides in spaces” by veering sharply between silence and explosive, stoner-metal fuzz. gen wo lai (come with me) deals in uncertainty, suspicion, and doubt, but Dama Scout fold these discomforts into one another with lush, thoughtful orchestration, building pathways between emotional roadblocks and transforming them into interdependent points of self-discovery.

Dama Scout settle for one final false climax to close out the album. The sullen piano dirge of “bubble bee” encapsulates the record’s purest moment of despair, complete with a chorus calculated to raise and then dash hopes, with high notes furiously gasping for air before disappearing beneath the waves of a rising drone. This eerie collapse feels curiously welcome, a chance to recover after covering so much ground at a breakneck pace, but Dama Scout have never sounded more energized; there’s a sense that they could come leaping back at you through the feedback at a moment’s notice. Healing, and second-act transformations like gen wo lai (come with me), can sometimes mean making a home within the discord, harnessing the power of a storm instead of waiting for its eye to pass overhead.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Dama Scout - gen wo lai (come with me) Music Album Reviews Dama Scout - gen wo lai (come with me) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, May 09, 2022 Rating: 5

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