Warning: This article contains mentions of rape and murder
After three successful independent EPs, Melbourne based band Gossling have finally released their debut album, Harvest of Gold. Fans will recognise Gossling’s distinctive mix of electronic shimmer and dreamlike vocals, as well as the enchanting lyrics of songwriter Helen Croome.
Croome’s voice, uniquely childlike and whimsical, is best described as a cross between Madonna and fellow Australian Lisa Mitchell. Alternating between breathy and plaintive, her vocals characterize the album and lend a fairylike cast.
The album’s real strength lies in its creation of immediate, compelling atmospheres, much like a film soundtrack. This is shown particularly in the track “Accolade”, where minimal accompaniment, tribal beat and double-octave vocals produce a vivid image of the egocentric man who ‘needs a woman by his side every night as an accolade’.
Croome’s voice also proves effective where layered, as in the sparsely textured duet with Alexander Burnett, “Songs of Summer”. Here the loneliness of a deteriorating relationship is depicted through the tonal contrast between voices, as well as through the circular, melancholy melody.
Other stand out tracks include the title track, “Harvest of Gold” and the ambitious “Vanish”. The latter, written in response to the rape and murder of Jill Meagher, is suitably haunting and morbid, but Croome’s voice is slightly grating when used in this context. The title track “Harvest of Gold” is a charming take on the impermanence of love, and uses an imaginatively stagnant melody to realize the dreamy lyrics to full effect.
A fantastic wander through shimmering layers, unexpected metaphors and gorgeous textures, Harvest of Gold is sure to capture your imagination.