Daughn Gibson has made a name for himself by marrying country and Americana to electronica, but his third record Carnation feels like more of a homage to the sounds of the 80s than his previous work. At times it feels like he is holding back on his dark magic, but a record full of fascinating tales will not disappoint existing fans.
There is a little more light coming in through the curtains at first, but the more familiar darkness descends once the appropriately named ‘Heaven You Better Come In’ arrives. The haunting vocals bounce off the moody backdrop – there’s something delightful about a man singing about ‘heaven’ in such darkly dulcet tones.
Lead track ‘Shatter you Through’ feels like a near perfect slice of 80s pop, in the best possible way. If there is a sense this record is slow to get started, it is in full flow by now. Intoxicating, magnetic, this is like some black fairytale allowed little moments of light and salvation. No matter how atmospheric the music, Gibson’s voice remains the chief weapon in setting the mood as the lyrics drawn you in.
When Gibson hits the nail on the head it certainly feels sublime. It doesn’t happen on every track, but just like his previous work Carnation bears repeated listening as its secrets reveal themselves slowly. This is another welcome addition to what is quickly becoming a wonderful catalogue of material. The template of his sound is some real dark magic, and the fact he is willing to tamper with it and explore is even more exciting, even if he doesn’t quite get everything right.