Co-produced and recorded at Avast Studios in Seattle by Daughn Gibson and Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Jesse Sykes, Tim Hecker, ‘Carnation’ is the third album from singer songwriter Daughn Gibson. While carrying elements of the country music influence of Gibsons first two albums ‘All Hell’ and ‘Me Moan’, ‘Carnation’ is deconstructed by its textural ambience into a much darker vision.
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Daughn Gibson is the latest person to decide that the ‘80’s is the way forward. His latest album is chock full of the textured ambient pop that made albums such as Roxy Music’s ‘Avalon’ and Japan’s ‘Tin Drum’ such sleek affairs.
Sometimes it really works such as on album stand out ‘Heaven You Better Come In’ which marries David Sylvian circa ‘Secrets of the Beehive’ with fantastic production touches such as the tremelo’d My Bloody Valentine guitar on the verses which gives a hint of skewed manipulation to the clipped pop. ‘Shatter You Through’ is ‘Hounds of Love’ era Kate Bush right down to the last fairlight synth but pales when compared to the best Kate Bush impersonation this year by the excellent Dutch Uncles. It's sad though to see an artist stretching so far back looking for inspiration without bringing something new to the party and like the Wild Beasts despairing ‘Present Tense‘ its starts plodding pretty quickly. The other influence that becomes crystal clear as the album wears on is the War on Drugs particularly on ‘I Let Him Deal’ with it’s Dire Straits guitar licks and Bryan Ferry crooning yet this careful atmospheric pop launches in the most confused of choruses, one which Adam Granduciel would be far too laid back to attempt. Similarly the arrangement on ‘Shine of the Night’ is too busy and the sax solo is regrettable.
The album does exemplify though how influenced artists are by their contemporaries - they must be constantly watching for what is successful then swiftly repeating the formula. I’ve enjoyed parts of the album - its expensively produced slick rock sometimes hits the target and Gibson’s caramel croon gives the album a bit of class.
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- Carnation by Daughn Gibson
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