WITH A FRIEND in tow, Daughn Gibson once fled an Arkansas hotel room after an occurrence of what he later discovered to be the phenomenon of sleep paralysis. This eventually reared its head again on the road when on more than one occasion, members of his entourage simultaneously suffered the unsettling experience. It’s events like these that help inform Gibson’s music with a dual feeling of confidence and insecurity.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the irreverent but timely statement of the cover image, which to an extent sadly, virtually dwarfs Gibson’s already substantial lyrics. You could potentially write reams on the implied and seemingly unsuccessful search for meaning this image so blatantly confronts you with. It’s as if these people are in desperate need of an answer, knowing in advance that they had no intention of finding one after crossing the threshold. That’s if they’re visitors. They could be cult members performing their morning ritual. However you think of it, I wouldn’t say this cover was designed to shock, but it is absolutely capable of it and is not for the squeamish and dismissive individual whose mind might easily connect to the gutter without first thinking it through. In other words, it’s art.
The dissatisfied quest for knowledge contributing to identity confusion suggested by the cover image seamlessly crosses over to the music. The lyrics serve to fill out and enhance this ever-present intense psychological landscape. So like many a great record of the past, Me Moan is less a thing you listen to than a place you go to. The sound of the disc reflects this nicely with a space and clarity unhindered by the mastering brick wall, which is present but doesn’t overtly overtake.
Daughn Gibson aligns himself with country music first, but for me the place this record inhabits is characterised by a post-new-romantic residue of scraping baritone and Roland Jupiter 6 with hints of surf guitar and pedal steel around the edges. It’s more Wall of Voodoo than Willie Nelson.
The closest thing to a pure country song here is ‘All My Days Off’. But it unsurprisingly defies convention, its unique drawl sounding as if Gibson were multi-tasking – attending to lead vocal while intermittently siphoning petrol. But that’s never enough to totally obscure the lyric. In fact none of the influences evident or ingredients present in this music make too big a deal of themselves, but rather tastefully converge in an end-to-end re-confirmation of the cover image and its fucked up judgment day. PETER KEARNS
Sound = 3.5/5
Music = 3.5/5