Daughn Gibson // All Hell // March 26 // White Denim
Even though I am based in England, I cover music from all over the world. It just happens that the best music in the world right now is being made in North America. Most of it is ambiguous in a sense that it could’ve been created anywhere in the world. It’s easy to share tastes and influences with the help of the internet and slowly but surely national scenes are melting together. All Hell by a trucker-cum-singer Daughn Gibson is an exception, there’s no way such album could come out from any country but USA.
Why so you ask? Anything that gets popular on the blogosphere is jumping through different influences at the speed of light. Well, for starters All Hell is a country album. We had some good alt country albums this year. Mr.M and The Something Rain are the standouts but as far as the pure channeling of country’s free-wheeling, sometimes ridiculous tales go, All Hell is an album that pays its tribute to those details before thinking about anything else. Gibson has a deep voice that is well suited for such music drenched with ambiance and a certain creepiness. It could be him and an acoustic guitar and you wouldn’t really even consider batting an eyelash, Daughn Gibson fits with what country is. Luckily All Hell is much more than that.
Gibson got into country while working as a truck driver, listening to late night radio stations while cross the country countless times. For a man that covered so much of America before his first ever tour, All Hell does feel like a creation of many different tastes. The thing that you will notice first is just how electronic All Hell is. The late night ambiance that is all over this record is reminiscent of Nicolas Jaar’s last year’s Space Is Only Noise LP. All Hell is laden with subtle percussion clicks has just enough reverb to make it sound atmospheric without turning it into just another American record obsessed with the magic power of the reverb pedal. What All Hell does is combining two influences that never been mashed before. The sort of ambient, ever post-dubstep sounds of Nicolas Jaar or James Blake mixed with traditional country sounds make All Hell one hell of a listen even if the songwriting leaves something to be desired. As interesting and creepy Gibson’s stories might be, the instrumentals on here suffer from repetition. Tracks like Rain On A Highway and Lookin’ Back On ‘99 utilise your typical cut up vocal samples without really adding anything to the overall atmosphere while The Day You Were Born sounds like an acoustic version of Kid A’s title track with seriously deep vocals. It’s little details that make All Hell enjoyable. Rain On A Highway might be little more that a two second loop in its original idea but middle through you get a nice piano melody that acts as the highlight of the whole album. Such little ideas add a lot to the album that jumps from idea to idea without building upon them to a greater extent. I don’t know how American country side looks so I can’t make the comparison but judging from All Hell, it’s pretty damn varied.
Even with the new found interest, Daughn Gibson still works in the trucking industry. He got his feet firmly on the ground while his debut LP seems to be traveling all over the place. All Hell will not be enjoyed by masses of people outside the states which puts him in a weird place of being a mildly left field artist that doesn’t have universal indie appeal. Then again one listen to the closing title track you get the idea that Gibson is not about world domination, he’s more interested in making music for himself, music that lives up to his taste and pushes the boundaries once in a while. All Hell lacks grace and the results are uneven at best but for better or worse, it’s is one of the more unique and broad-sighted albums you’re likely to hear this year.