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Formerly of thinking man’s rockers Pearls & Brass, Daughn Gibson’s solo debut ‘All Hell’ last year was a revelation, introducing a brand of tragic Americana-tinged darkpop which we’d never heard from him before. Myself and our Brian were duly impressed, the LP sold out in no time at all and now I’m pleased to say we’ve got his second album out this week and this time he’s on Sub Pop!
In comparison to his previous effort this is very slick stuff, with tricksy modern production and a full band fleshing out his sound to something quite grandiose, his distinctive baritone booming richly over unashamedly epic productions, falling somewhere between Brian Ferry (particularly ‘Mamouna’-era), John Maus, Mark Lanegan and Sam Herring. Sometimes his vocals can drift into this strangely affected ‘80s pop drawl which really reminds me of someone but I can’t figure out who (answers on a postcard?).
The spectre of soft pop’s past is all over this record from the Knopfler-esque guitar leads of ‘Franco’ to the Crash Test Dummies-ish ‘Won’t You Climb’ and the They Might Be Giants-meets-Royal Trux brilliance of ‘Kissin on the Blacktop’, but Gibson’s assured, rich delivery brings it all together as one impressive whole. These songs are impeccably put together and even after just two or three listens I’m already letting go of my reservations about this album. His voice may divide opinions (in our office at least) but I think Gibson’s got a skill for writing consistently high quality sophisticated pop music which can’t be denied, and a dramatic, distinctive delivery which which makes his records resonate a sense of mystery which will keep you coming back, along with a comforting nod to the classic American songwriters of the past. An impressive record.
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