The latest offering from Damen, “Control,” marries the wistful introspection of their earlier work with a noticeably fresh and evolved sound. It’s a comeback that not only delivers but redefines Damen’s unique sonic identity, drawing parallels to indie titans like Local Natives and Far Caspian, while still remaining unmistakably Damen.
Right from the outset, the soundscapes hint at a band in transition: while the atmospheric guitars and brisk drum patterns that fans grew fond of in ‘Sagrada Familia’ remain intact, there’s a palpable electronic undercurrent, courtesy of their new fifth member, the microKORG. This seamless integration of electronic textures hints at a band that’s not afraid to push boundaries, both musically and thematically.
Lyrically, “Control” paints a vivid picture of the eternal struggle between aspiration and reality. The opening lines, “Go travel go fill your soul, Don’t waste it take control,” encapsulate the millennial urge to escape and discover, often leading to the cliché journeys of self-discovery across continents. Yet, there’s a biting self-awareness too: the mentions of getting “wasted and lost control” and seeking enlightenment in the haze of marijuana blur the lines between genuine self-improvement and the perils of overindulgence. The repetitive plea of “Why won’t you, why won’t you stay?” feels almost desperate, a cry to ground oneself amidst the whirlwind of experiences.
What truly stands out in “Control” is how Damen manages to capture the dual essence of escapism. While on one hand, there’s the allure of adventure and self-realization in lines like “Australia, South East Asia,” the band is also quick to underscore the ephemeral nature of such escapades, cleverly hinting at the irony of seeking enlightenment as a mere tourist.
Instrumentally, the song hits all the right notes. The synergy between Danial’s vocals and the guitars, both electronic and traditional, creates an expansive aura. David’s melodic basslines and Adrian’s rhythmic drumming are the backbone of the song, providing depth and structure, while Gustav’s guitar work sprinkles the magic.
“Control” is more than just a single; it’s a testament to Damen’s growth. The evolution from their debut album to ‘Everything Falls Apart’ is evident, and if “Control” is any indicator, the upcoming album promises a richer, more nuanced soundscape. One that not only entertains but also provokes thought, blurring the line between music and philosophy, urging listeners to, indeed, take control.