Damion Jurrens is not new to the music scene, but his current project The Cowls has only been in existence since 2018. In that time, he released sixteen tracks over three EPs, the last of which was Shake This. From there he made the leap to his recording and releasing his debut album, Certain Calculations at a deliberately breakneck speed.
Its wry take on indie electro charmed many, as it invited favourable comparisons with acts like Hot Chip, Beck and LCD Soundsystem. That was then, this is now, and Damion has batted away health problems – and the ongoing climate emergency in his home state of California – to create another cracker of an album.
Should It Feel Like This? has involved another process of discovery and adventure for Jurrens. He radically changed his work ethos and the goals he’d applied to his previous album. Though it shares a similar sonic palette with his debut, here Damion has chosen to take a more experimental, almost ‘seat of his pants’ approach.
‘After the release of Certain Calculations, I decided to completely revise my methods. A whole new workflow and different approach to song writing led to a set of relatively spare demos, which were then built up to darker, more complex mixes. I then took those mixes, cut them up, sampled them, reversed them, sifted them through various filters, and turned them into completely new songs.
I added lots of percussion (there are at least two drum tracks on every song) and emphasized the low end. The result is a reimagined Cowls aesthetic – and yet all twelve tunes clearly share the same creative vision as the debut album.’
Talking about the duality that underpins lead single Speaking in Tongues, Damion had this to say: “It’s the most buoyant, poppy song on the album. But it’s also a collection of backward samples that sounds super chaotic if you really listen.”
With its hints of early 80s synthpop, primal electro, classic American indie as well the art rock of Devo, Talking Heads and B-52s,, Should It Feel Like This? layers on the hooks, samples and beats to create 12 sonic blasts of pure musical joy.