Amiture : Mother Engine

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Amiture Mother Engine review

In the video for “Billy’s Dream,” the lead single from Amiture‘s second album Mother Engine, a series of sordid scenes unfold. We’re treated to various scenarios, innocent or more often not, happening behind closed doors: gambling, drinking, men in dog masks inhaling lines of cocaine, stakeouts, games of hangman and chain-smoking priests. It’s at once intimate and seamy, a little uncomfortable but curiously titillating, all set to the sound of the New York duo’s trip-hop-influenced beats and distorted metallic sheets of sound, as vocalist Jack Whitescarver delivers a tormented and gritty narrative of his own: “I got a ride on the devil’s back…I drive away and I never look back.”

“Billy’s Dream,” in both sound and vision, is a fitting introduction to Amiture’s signature blend of hedonism and menace. The music Whitescarver and Coco Goupil create is gothic in the manner of both Delta blues and David Lynch’s movies at their most oblique and malevolent. From the spaghetti western guitar licks of opening song “Glory,” Mother Engine finds the band embarking on a road movie through the darkest human impulses, depicted through both aesthetics that intertwine expressionist abstraction and a kind of classic Americana romanticism.

Amiture draw from a palette of sounds that don’t always seem like natural bedfellows, but throughout Mother Engine, they find a way to make those disparate points connect. They don’t so much clash as create a sensual kind of friction, pairing bluesy grit with atmospheric drift on the tense and distant “Rattle,” wrapping shrieking noise-rock guitar around pulsing beats on “Baby,” or punctuating the erotically druggy “Cocaine” with a wisp of saxophone. “Law + Order” is the band at their most moody, ominous and awesome, noisy sonic peals erupting amid their Massive Attack-meets-evil-Chris-Isaak hallucinations, Whitescarver crooning his way to internal oblivion: “The little light I have is leaving me every day.” There’s an even darker industrial plod to “HWL,” its beats lurching with psychopathic, but with an undeniable sexiness amid the harshness and din.

Amiture never feel as if they escape their den of iniquity or find an offramp from the lost highway they’re on, but the atmosphere that surrounds them isn’t so much toxic as intoxicating. Mother Engine is steeped in a darkness that’s at once stylish and just a little grimy, an invitation into an after-hours underworld that feels just the right amount of dangerous.

Label: Dots Per Inch

Year: 2024

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Amiture Mother Engine review

Amiture: Mother Engine

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