Daughn Gibson - Carnation
Awash, adrift and fading... not the album I was hoping for, but it is growing on me. I was annoyed with myself for not turning this pre-order post into an album review faster upon the release of the record - however, now I am glad I took more time.
Sometimes change is hard to accept. I want an artist to grow and adapt, but not so much that I don't recognize them anymore. I thought on first listen that Daughn Gibson had gone too far away from the sound I so loved. Thankfully if you take your time with this record there is much to be discovered and enjoyed.
The first two records were raw, visceral and dark. ALL HELL being the most extreme while ME MOAN added a little sophistication and savvy. CARNATION takes things further into a more accessible sound for unchallenged palettes. It sounds more calculated and designed than the first two records. At first this put me off as I wanted and expected another groin shot and not something cerebral.
My record is on marbled blue vinyl and came with a nice LP sized booklet with lyrics and artwork. Also a signed art print and download card were inside.
- Bled to Death - My first thought on this song was "Wow, he can really sing" This is more trip-hop and dream-pop than anything he has done before. If it was longer I think it could have been a great shoegaze club track.
- Heaven You Better Come In - A posh pop track that is full of catchy tricks and inventive sounds that make it devilishly interesting to listen to - also a nice toe tapper.
- Shatter You Through - Definitely a nice club track with a sophisticated beat and really showcases the musicality that is strong throughout this record. It is syncopated and playful.
- For Every Bite - Jazzy rhythm, like a dark Steely Dan number. Takes full advantage of his baritone.
- Daddy I Cut My Hair - Yearning & loneliness, hauntingly conveyed...where do I fit in?
- A Rope Ain't Enough - This track lost me - not sure what it means to say - reading the lyrics didn't help - musically rather sedate.
- I Let Him Deal - Love this track - top marks for the posh sophisticated sound - could have been in a John Hughes' film - It feels a bit naughty, or at least a spot of trouble.
- Shine of the Night - Dark pop, a great late night feeling song
- Runaway and the Pyro - Something of a short bard's song
- It Wants Everything - My favorite song on the record - it kind of demands you pay attention with it's creative use of beats and stops. Daughn Gibson uses a breathy and sexy version of his deep baritone to seduce the listener.
- Back With the Family - Dirge-y and dark - great baseline - a nice wrap up to the album
When purchasing the new album I decided to get the bundle of Carnation and Me Moan. I already bought Me Moan digitally but it was 256 and SubPop gives 320 as well as lossless options like flac. I just have enjoyed them so much (them = Me Moan and All Hell). I wish they had his first album, All Hell, on vinyl as well. Maybe next time.
If you are unfamiliar with Daughn Gibson I would urge you to sample some. I find him something of an amalgam of Johnny Cash and Portishead. The sound is current and progressive, the mood is dark and gritty, his vocals are deep and gravelly, and the attitude is aggressive leaning towards violence, but still with a country, storyteller vibe. I get a feeling when listening ... reminds me of being in New Orleans and getting a hot toddy "to go: and walking around Bourbon Street drinking warm buttered whiskey from my Styrofoam cup thinking I was being rebellious and subversive even though it was perfectly legal there.
One of my favorite songs - Kissing on the Blacktop from Me Moan
His facebook page, as of today (7/26/2015) is over a month since the last posting - really weird for someone with a recent record. I wonder if he is disappointed in the reception - I think too many reviewers judged this one too quickly and based on their expectations and did not fairly rate CARNATION.
You can also get his music at bandcamp here. Bandcamp is currently my favorite place to find new music.