Jul 08, 2013 Issue #46 - June/July 2013 - Charli XCX
In the hands of a lesser musician, Daughn Gibson's rich and cavernous baritone may have mutated into a Crash Test Dummies-esque gimmick on his underrated debut album, All Hell. Fortunately, the mysterious songs produced by this former truck driver, adult bookstore cashier, and Pearls and Brass drummer are underpinned by a semblance of genuineness. All Hell was a tar-black miasma of rainy highways, scuzzy biker bars, and sex-stained bed sheets. Gibson's heady confluence of sample-based laptop music and earthen Americana sheds new layers upon further examination. The country, electronic, and Christian folk records he grabs from dusty record store bins are carefully placed into each spellbinding reverie.
The Carlisle, PA artist's charming wordplay and gallows humor are magnified on his ambitious second album and Sub Pop debut, Me Moan. The aid of veteran guitarists John Baizley (Baroness) and Jim Elkington (Brokeback) certainly injects a kinetic quality into this new effort; that was one blemish that kept the listless All Hell from truly exploring its widescreen vision. All Hell's intimate moments are here on "Franco" and "All My Days Off," but there are larger melodic vistas to explore as well. The live drums on opening track "The Sound of Law" and the nostalgic pedal steel and strings draped over romantic showstopper "Won't You Climb" command your attention. "Kissin on the Blacktop" is a high wire country-rock act that is pushed along by the insect-like beat of ratcheting machines. Elsewhere, "Franco" begins with a tranquil sample of woodland flutes, before a watery guitar riff casts a long shadow over a heartrending scene of a lonely man regretting his decision to not start a family with his lover. It's these chill-inducing moments that launch Gibson into a new stratosphere of musical development and place Me Moan in a genre of its own. (www.daughngibson.com)
Author rating: 8.5/10
Average reader rating: 7/10