It’s probably best to get the elephant out in the open right at the start.
I know there are many marmite voices (some misguided people think Bob Dylan can’t sing?), but Daughn Gibson’s is like concentrated marmite. Imagine Johnny Cash, but even deeper, or Stuart Staples (Tindersticks) but more morose.
But if you don’t have a problem with either of these, and I don’t, then you may well love this album. What makes this such an interesting listen is the combination of samples, electronic backing and unusual instruments (when was the last time you heard bagpipes on a record?) but in a quite traditional country setting of songs about death, god, drinking and unrequited love.
His stories are like a mixture of Bukowski and Raymond Carver but set in the musical world of Twin Peaks: check out “Kissin’ on the Blacktop” with its tale of sleazy afternoon drinking, or “Franco” about the death of a child and subsequent break up of the marriage.
I guess that the cover sums up the contents pretty accurately with its washed out picture of an empty church, or place of worship, but with spectral images of a naked body and some flames hanging over the scene.
Tragic songs of life indeed!
Nigel House, Co-founder, Rough Trade record shops.