Personnel: Damon & Naomi (vocals).
Recording information: Kali Studios (2014).
Conceived as a soundtrack to a silent movie, Damon & Naomi's eighth studio album, Fortune, is their most intimate, most affecting set of songs to date. The film is Naomi Yang's own creation, an elegiac piece revolving around the loss of a parent, heavy feelings of nostalgia, and eventual self-discovery, but one needn't see the film to get the point. The songs themselves stand alone and transmit all the devastating emotion that the film does, maybe even more since listeners can apply them to their own experiences and/or imaginations. It's a harrowingly beautiful little record, not much different than previous ones, but with a more direct lyrical approach and a slightly stripped-down sound that relies heavily on acoustic guitar, some electric piano, Naomi's always perfect bass playing, and barely any drums. Only a couple songs have the full band lineup they usually use, like the album-ending "Time Won't Own Me," which sends the listener off on a note of hope. This overall spare approach suits the emotion-wracked feel of the songs extremely well and allows the listener to get right up close to their lovely vocals. Both Damon and Naomi are underrated as vocalists, and while they won't win any awards, they both have very artlessly pretty voices and know how to use them for maximum effect. Not a huge surprise since at this point they'd been making excellent records as a duo for over 20 years. Fortune certainly counts as one of their excellent albums, and if it doesn't seem to reach for the same sonic heights as some of their recent efforts, it surpasses them on an emotional level. ~ Tim Sendra