Downriver Dead Men Go (DDMG) are a post progressive rock band from Leiden, the Netherlands, which started life in 2010 as a spin off from the alternative rock band Catlin. For those curious about the origin of the band’s name it is the title of a book from the pen of ‘George Pelecanos’
With respect to this extremely listenable CD; rarely do you come across an album that, on the one hand, is drenched in melancholy and yet, on the other, saturated with an abundance of exquisitely arranged passages of melodic charm. The entire project is filled with a powerful kind of musical magnetism that draws you deep into its emotive folds and floods you with myriads of listening pleasure, in fact it is a total listening experience. How can it possibly be explained why the effects of immersing oneself into prolonged moments of lyrical sadness can indeed turn out to be a momentous musical pleasure. Drawing a comparison, I suppose, to watching a really sad film and actually enjoying every minute of every scene.
This album embraces nine excellent protracted tracks which are all song based, the vocals of which are delivered with a distinctly US American ‘New Wave’ music stylization. But rather than the vocal delivery sounding twee and sentimental there is entwined within the arrangement a harder edge tone delivered with strength, clarity and great intonation.
Simply, from an instrumental perspective, the guitar and keyboards combine strongly together to form an overall symphonic layer of powerfully constructed sound. The resultant sound effect is unbelievably atmospheric containing sections that are both haunting and totally hypnotic. The whole project is wonderfully arranged with tunes that are full of melody and indeed containing some quite soulful moments too. There are plenty of moments when exquisite tuneful guitar sequences burst to the fore but these are always accompanied with wonderful keyboard counter melodies and superb percussion throughout.
Starting off life as a privately released cd this debut album first saw the light of day in 2015 and I guess it was then was sold at gigs before falling into relative obscurity. Fortunately, somebody brought it to the attention of “Freia Music” and it has subsequently been re-released by them 2018.
Summary: An extremely atmospheric album and one that is quite unusual too with layers of harmonic sounds, full of melody and with beautiful meaningful vocal arrangements.
Cover Art: Simple but effective artwork.
1 Lamentation 4:04
2 Mother 7:15
3 Loneliest Of Creatures 7:53
4 Prison Walls 8:10
5 Home 8:01
6 Uncertainty 14:00
7 Departures 8:48
8 Familiar Face 6:13
9 To Have And To Hold 4:23
• Keys and Backing Vocals – Inge den Hollander
• Bass Guitar – Fernandez Burton
• Drums – Manuel Renaud
• Vocals – Steen Gees Christensen (track: 7)
• Guitar, Backing Vocals – Michel Varkevisser
• Keyboards – Remco den Hollander
• Vocals, Guitar – Gerrit Koekebakker
• Spoken Voice – Joanne Platts