Ex trucker drives on with power tunes
Big release of the week
Daughn Gibson : Me Moan - (Sub Pop) 4 STARS
Daughn Gibson is the pseudonym of Philadelphia singer-songwriter Josh Martin, a one-time truck driver, adult bookshop worker and former member of hardcore band, Pearls and Brass.
His first album, All Hell, appeared last year and quickly found itself on the radar of tastemakers in the US. This second offering should get him noticed much further afield.
Me Moan is a dark, challenging record boasting the bleak worldview of Mark Lanegan, the unquenchable humanity of Johnny Cash and the storytelling smarts of Richmond Fontaine's Willy Vlautin.
At the centre of it all is Gibson's arresting baritone – which lies somewhere between Nick Cave and Ian Curtis.
His songs are rarely less than riveting: The Pisgee Nest – one of the most unsettling tracks here – recalls a real-life tale of sexual exploitation, while the playful Kissin' on the Blacktop finds romance in the unpromising setting of a down-at-heel bar.
Sonically, Gibson's influences are all over the place and his songs are all the better for it. There's country, of course, but he appears as comfortable with subtle electronica as he is with slide guitar.
The truly bizarre Mad Ocean employs bagpipes to dramatic effect, while opener The Sound of Law is built on a churning guitar. The latter opens the album and the first words you hear Gibson sing are "My Daddy was a beast". It doesn't let up on the sense of foreboding.
And then there's Gibson's best song – and the one that reveals him to be the real deal: Franco is a heartrending ballad about a father coming to terms with his son's suicide and how the love his wife felt for him faded after the tragedy.
Once heard, impossible to forget.
KEY TRACKS Franco; The Sound of Law; The Pisgee Nest