Dams of the West – Youngish American

Album Review by Joseph Viney | 13 Mar 2017
  • Dams of the West – Youngish American
Album title: Youngish American
Artist: Dams of the West
Label: Columbia / 30th Century Records
Release date: 24 Feb

As if it wasn’t enough being the drummer for Vampire Weekend and creating a more-than-reputable body of work, Chris Tomson has restarted the exact same process with Youngish American. Under the guise of Dams of the West, he's recovered from what appeared to be a bout of domestic ennui to deliver a refreshing, varied and engaging solo debut.

Dams of the West was born from a lull in the output of his Vampire Weekend day job, and a slide into the early onset of middle age reckoning: kids, mortgages, weekends at DIY stores, dinner parties, ill-fitting jumpers, the works. But Youngish American seems to have given Tomson a timely lift.

Whatever lay dormant in him is rudely awakened and kicked out of bed by the frenetic pace of Will I Be Known To Her, the shifting rhythms of The Inerrancy of You and Me (which feels like it owes more than a nod to his education in Vampire Weekend) and the muddled, meandering philosophy of Flag on the Can. The latter asks, 'When I drink a Bud Light do I love America?' and adds to the pile of art and music already getting to work on the 21st century of North American introspection.

Thomson is in fact the last member of Vampire Weekend to take his solo act on the road, and if there is a sense of reticence wrapped up in his motives then it can at times rear its head here. Some tracks, like Pretty Good WiFi, fail to hit the spot leaving the singer somewhat exposed at times. Still, with his parent band said to be writing album number four, it won’t hurt to add another string to the bow.

Listen to: Will I Be Known To Her, The Inerrancy of You and Me