Daughn Gibson: Me Moan (Sub Pop)

Second album of widescreen Americana, splicing country and electronica to frequently dazzling effect

Released Jul 9th, 2013 via Sub Pop / By Lewie Peckham
Daughn Gibson: Me Moan (Sub Pop) Released last year, All Hell painted Daughn Gibson as an outsider from the outset. Taking the gloom and desolation from opposite ends of the musical spectrum it was a record that twanged with the heartbreak of country and the late night glitch of the most introverted electronica.

If you could imagine a chance meeting in a highway dive bar between James Blake and Lee Hazelwood as they bond over cheap trucker speed, endless shots of murky looking alcohol and Nick Cave records you would be close to describing the feeling that listening to Daughn Gibson offers.

Now, with a move to Sub Pop, it’s Me Moan that expands on All Hell’s solitary soundscapes and offers more depth and experimentation for the former long-distance truck driver’s sophomore album. Opening with the continual, pulsating beat of ‘The Sound of Law’ its bluesy guitar riffs giving way to a flurry of drumbeats and soaring synth patterns, it’s the perfect backdrop for Gibson’s deep, ominous vocals.

It’s these vocals that give the menacing ‘Phantom Rider’ its sinister sense of dread and conjures up visions of David Lynch’s America throughout Me Moan’s 11 songs. The blood red hotel rooms, dark highways illuminated by the glare of headlights and the red eyes of smoky, dimly-lit bars frequented by the types of shady characters usually found in Jim Jarmusch movies and the gothic Americana of Cormac McCarthy’s work are all given life by Gibson’s lethargic drawl and dark baritone filled with despair.

Franco’s sparse guitars and clipped programmed drums provide a harrowing musical backdrop to a song about a husband and wife dealing with their son’s suicide while ‘All My Days Off’ is a pure old school country heartbreaker complete with swells of gorgeous pedal steel making the song the light to the rest of the albums humid, claustrophobic shade.

The only downside to Me Moan is that where Gibson has branched out musically, incorporating bagpipes, organ and horns, there is, on occasion a sense of musical pedestrianisation. ‘Where All Hell’ was a bottomless pit of anguish with no light at the end of the tunnel, songs like ‘Kissin’ on the Blacktop’ are played safe and unfortunately bring to mind Alabama 3 which can date Me Moan and makes you realise how, when done wrong, the mixing of disparate genres is a tightrope of getting it right and fucking it up.

Fortunately, the majority of the LP gets it right and will provide one of the more rewarding late night soundtracks heard this year. Alongside fellow curator of pitch-black musical noir Dirty Beaches, Me Moan is a glitchy, black and white musical road trip.