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

Everything that brilliant self-titled EP promised and more.

Dama Scout - gen wo lai (come with me)

Dama Scout’s self-titled EP was both fresh and exciting on its release. Eva Liu’s sweet vocals smacked up against scuzzy riffs and barreling sonic assaults, like being cast into a world that’s neither quite dream nor nightmare. It felt like we weren’t going to hear much from them after that. But now, five years later, the London-Glasgow trio have conjured up another such world - the irresistible ‘gen wo lai (come with me)’. The out-and-out chaos of ‘Dama Scout’ has been replaced by something slightly more sinister. In parts it calls to mind Nilüfer Yanya’s quietly-menacing soundscapes, where you’re never quite sure when it’s going to snap. Take ‘lonely udon’, one of the record’s standouts. A drum machine and Eva’s eerie harmonising open the tune. Things slowly begin to decay, until her vocals and brass bring light to the darkness. Then it collapses again with a cacophony of sound. Even those once beautiful vocals start to warp and distort. It’s this ebb and flow that makes Dama Scout so special; they’re restless masters of mood and agitation, with each track linking the autobiographical push and pull of two worlds that drives the record. ‘gen wo lai’ conjures the anxiety of trying to embrace a new culture while holding on to your heritage. The addition of ‘一 個 謎 (a mystery)’ later, which brings to mind the saccharine soundtracks of classic Hong Kong romance films, feels like Eva embracing both by placing this moment of familiarity, albeit still distorted, in an album of tension. ‘gen wo lai (come with me)’ is a spectacular record about carving your own space out in a world that doesn’t want to make things easy for you. A record of cathartic release, whether it’s finding solace in the things that remind you of home or just screaming into the ether, it’s everything that brilliant self-titled EP promised and more.

 

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