Daughn Gibson - Me Moan

by Steve Reynolds Rating:9.5 Release Date:2013-07-08

Daughn Gibson is back to follow up his critically acclaimed album of last year, All Hell, and I have been informed that his newie is a departure. What is evident from opener 'The Sound of the Law' is that Gibson has a black heart, lyrically personified with the first line, "My daddy was a beast/ He seemed to know well", which makes you swiftly aware this isn't going to be an easy listen. The sentiment is met head on with a drawl which melds the whisky-soaked tones of Mark Lanegan, the twang of Elvis and the misanthropic outlook of Nick Cave.

Musically, he holds a penchant for country and dark folk-scapes encapsulated by by a clever mix of slide guitar ('The Pisgee Nest') and bagpipes ('Mad Ocean'). That's the tip of the iceberg, however, because throughout the 11 songs on Me Moan, he has a backing band which is expansive and wraps it's arms round Gibson's sullen spoken-words perfectly. 'Mad Ocean' reminds of early Clinic musically but Gibson's sultry delivery couldn't be further from the uplifting arrangement: "Oh crooked line/ if I walk you to the edge of a little cliff/ I'll bring your shit to an end".

On 'The Pisgee Nest', Gibson's lyrics recall Kerouac's On the Road: "We broke into a car to count the rent but you had to go back for your lucky barrett/ State Trooper's daughter in the pisgee nest" - all set to a deep, throbbing bass, rattled intermittently with sounds of a watery grave.

Me Moan isn't all doom and gloom, though, and just like Cave, he has the ability to write genuinely strong, heart-wrenching love songs. At times, it sounds like Gibson is crying as he pours his heart into the song with his sombre, at times incoherent ramblings: "If you need my love, let it go through you all the way in/ If you need my love, I could stand around quiet to 'til you say you win", and: "I wish we had a kid who never wanted to die".

'Won't You Climb' is much brighter than a lot of the songs here: "I never let you go/ I could run forever". 'The Right Signs' is downright sinister, set to a hypnotic drone, some Jesus & Mary Chain-style reverb and Gibson's Alan Vega-like holler. Who would have thought that a black slice of sonic soundscape could be so captivatingly haunting?

'Kissing on the Blacktop' is his driving song. Listening to it, you can just yourself with the soft-top down, speeding down Route 66, can't you, eh? Ok, more likely Croydon. The album's finale, 'Into the Sea', is washed with some fly finger-picked Spanish guitar and jaunty piano. It's a bright, mellifluous end but is the antithesis of the words of a lonely and tortured soul: "Somebody made me believe that my better days are done/ Why don't I start moving on/ out of the sun and into the sea?"

Me Moan is cerebral, heart-breaking at times, but completely thrilling to listen to from start to finish. Mixing up fast, slow, downbeat and upbeat songs perfectly and creating enough zest in his songwriting to belie his years, it looks llike the so called 'difficult third album' will be a breeze to put together. It's probable that if you buy this album it will be the best thing you hear all year.

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