At the end of the video for “Milky Milk” from Dama Scout there is a word that pulses on the screen. The word ‘MAYBE’ is pleasingly vague, suspenseful, and also sort of promising. The use of word that dangles there at the end of a sequence shows the Dama Scout sensibility. It says, ‘Here is everything, oh wait, there’s more.’
In March “Milky Milk” was released as a single, and here it is with the added beauty of a visual treatment. The track alone evidences the building buzz around the London-based trio. The sound of the track builds on the enquiries of the Dama Scout EP – the self-titled release from 2017. That four-song release established the angular tones, sometimes abstract lyricism, and weighted hooks that are further explored here.
The minimalism-made-rich approach of Dama Scout reaches back into guitar-driven rock. However, they avoid cliche, and the traditional blues-based riffs to produce their own unusual textures. There’s a sense of classic saccharine pop; the kind of stuff that emerged from France in the mid 60’s. Breezy, overtly pretty, and easy as hell to dance to. But wait, there’s more. The heaviness of fuzzed guitars from Eva Liu sits with Danny Grant’s drum work to produce something informed by beauty, but set on beast mode.
The video for “Milky Milk” gives directing credit to The Boykov Brothers. A duo of the band’s drummer and friend Thom Rawle. From the outset we’re treated to the same low-burning tension established in the tune. Visuals alternate between the explicit and the inferred. Misty moments of distorted faces punctuate a building narrative. Progress is being made, but it’s not quite right. This is the feeling of being spiked, of going under; something’s wrong with the milk.
There are echoes of 80’s movies – the kind of VHS fodder that kept production studios in tax-break territory. Polyester-based clothes, poor lighting, and a certain kind of awkwardness that comes from delivering an unbelievable, if not fantastic script. The affection that Dama Scout have for oddball horror is captured here. And so is the dread of consuming too much of the poison we took to relax.
Between the song and the video “Milky Milk” serves a string of metaphors. Dama Scout know what they’re doing. This thing can be as complex and as rewarding as you like. It can also just help you rock out. The grit, with volume, is a thing of beauty. Expand your screen. Turn up your ears.
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PHOTOGRAPH BY DAMA SCOUT