Every so often an artist comes along that just blows every expectation you have out of the water.
This is Daughn Gibson.
We may be late to post about this, but no matter that his album All Hell came out back in April. This is most certainly a case of better late than never.
Previously he was in stoner rock band Pearls and Brass, but that is not a reference point of any use, for this is is a record that defies definition. It could be a classic down-on-their-luck country record, it could be creepy southern gothic, it could be dark folk, but then there are the looped, eerie electronics that are more Burial or Portishead than Johnny Cash. And over it all is a rich baritone croon every bit the equal of Lee Hazlewood, Scott Walker or Nick Cave.
Whatever it is, it is dark, hellishly so in places, it is lonely, it is brutal and it grips like the proverbial vice. Above all it is brilliant.
Highlights? All of it. The shrieking, borderline insane preacher’s intro to the album’s closing title track about an incurably ill baby is singularly the most unsettling thing we’ve heard all year. The album is a hymn to small town insecurity and despair, populated by loners, losers, fuck-ups and messy, screwed up failures at every turn. Take Ray, he “looked like a movie star, but grew up to be totally worthless” or Tiffany Lou whose father “died with his mind on fire, and his jeans half on.” All told to ominous, chilling, brilliant effect.
The record is filled with hisses and crackles, brooding silences, strange loops and samples, but never loses its sense of melody and purpose – these are songs that are in it for the long haul and while nothing is at it first seems, you soon realise that everything with All Hell is just as it should be.
Download Daughn Gibson – In The Beginning mp3 (from All Hell)Follow @madmackerel