Daughn Gibson is a dust-coated cowboy who croons like The National. He’s a flannel-thick Pennsylvania barker with a band that plays semi-westerns with a Kid A-passion. No, no, he is drunk woodsy warbler lost in a dark trance, a fat-bear Bowie dancing on a striped ball beat in an edge-town bar…
I need you to understand the potential here. This sound is a fresh-baked cake just waiting to be frosted into something great. Me Moan, the songwriter/singer’s band’s second effort, contains songs that are truly, stunningly discombobulating in their combinations of the earthy and ethereal.
Start with track two, “Phantom Rider,” where Daughn Gibson pulls neo-dance and twang together into a mad tango. Or, skip to the real gems, the heartbreaking “Franco” that shivers like a handsaw stuck in a pine-board, or the actually crazy “You Don’t Fade.”
Explaining that track would be like trying to explain why David Lynch loves karaoke.
At best, Me Moan is a wildly inventive album, one that whiffs as hard as it misses. But, it’s clearly helmed by someone with the neck muscles for the lumberjack job and whose eyes are Jack Nicholson-wide for wherever the hell he’s aiming to hit.
Me Moan is one of those albums you could hear 10 seconds of and never want to play again. You’d be perfectly justified.
It exists to juxtapose disparate elements that don’t always work, or more aptly – almost always challenge. Sometimes, the experiments pay off, but the result can be a slog.
Picture this: You’re wading through a beautiful ocean filled with ice cream cones bobbing face-down in the water. You’d be perfectly fine with either the ice cream or the scenery.
Take “Mad Ocean,” one of the most straightforward cuts on the album – the point where Gibson settles on being a twangy, cotton-mouthed Bon Iver. It works, mostly, yet for some reason, there’s fucking bagpipes on the track.
It’s like that Chopped contestant that decided to cover his perfectly OK salad with frosting-laced fennel seeds at the last moment, just to be cute.
Yeah, there’s going to be fake suspense into the commercial break, but we all know who fucked up.