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Daughn Gibson “Me Moan” – Album Review

Sub Pop (2013)

Named after an amalgam of Nashville crooners Don and Stevie Ray, Pennsylvania truck driver-turned-troubadour Daughn Gibson twisted country music beyond all recognition with last year’s debut All Hell thanks to an array of warped loops, samples and distortion and a remarkable baritone which sat somewhere between a Vegas Elvis impersonator and the frontman of the Crash Test Dummies.

His second album, Me Moan, continues to bridge that rather wide gap between the country and western of the 60s and the experimental electronica of the 00s with similarly inventive and perplexing results.

Indeed, living up to its title, “Mad Ocean” is a bewildering combination of glitchy beats, ghostly pitch-shifted vocal hooks and wailing bagpipes. Everything from flickering morse code synths to sitars are thrown into the mix on the Joy Division-esque post-punk of “The Right Signs.” There are even flashes of dubstep amongst the chopped-up female vocal hooks and Wild West guitar twangs of the quietly menacing “You Don’t Fade.”

But Daughn Gibson’s post-modern cowboy routine perhaps best works on “The Pisgee Nest,” a hugely unsettling tale of a policeman’s daughter forced into prostitution by her boyfriend, which combines the nocturnal trip-hop of the mid-90s with the eerie Americana of a David Lynch soundtrack.

But Me Moan is equally compelling when it takes a turn for the more conventional, as on “All My Days Off,” a gorgeous stripped-back acoustic ballad which sounds like a long-lost Johnny Cash classic, and the Footloose-aping hillbilly country-rock of “Kissin’ On The Blacktop.”

“Won’t You Climb,” a syrupy string-laden slice of lounge pop far more suited to a cruise ship cabaret, and closer “Into The Sea,” a disappointingly anti-climactic attempt at honky tonk, proves Daughn Gibson’s melting pot of sounds doesn’t always gel. But on the whole, Me Moan’s unashamed absurdity is difficult to resist.

4 / 5 stars     

About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music