Album Review ::: Vagabon ‘Infinite Worlds’

Recently released with Father Daughter Records, ‘Infinite Worlds’ is the brand new album from Vagabon. Following up from last years EP release Persian Gardens, lead songstress and multi-instrumentalist Lætitia Tamko delivers a starkly emotional performance with weighty and personal lyrics all channeled through an indie folk rock musical force. Inspired by a book of poetry called The Crisis of Infinite Worlds by Dana Ward, Vagabon’s accomplished debut is everything from acoustic to electrically plucked indie guitar hymns. Modern synth-laced pop ballads and indie rock riffs are collaged alongside other-wordly songs of layered vocal harmonies and repetitive choruses washing over each other creating hazy and elusive audio horizons; yet never once wavering as a singular piece of art and a cohesive masterstroke of an album from start to finish.

Opening song The Embers, previously titled ‘Sharks’ appeared as the last track on the Persian Gardens Ep. In the current state it gets the album started with a highly melodic lonely song of lament that builds with a trodding bass line that is tightly woven with the powerful drums throughout the chorus, while the singer admits, ‘I’m just a small fish’. Tamko sings so sweetly and naturally that it’s a joy to hear her amused laugh mid refrain, only adding further to the personality of this record as a whole and her distinct contribution as a songwriter to every aspect of the instrumentation within the music.

‘Fear and Force’ is a love-lorn ballad that is no less authoritative in performance than the previous track. Relaxed, textured and sure-footed vocals give the lyrics an additional organic feel that is tangible in Tamko’s silky tenor voice throughout the record. The song focuses on heartache and the songwriter’s romantic malaise in the lines ‘Freddie, come back. I know, you love where you are but I think I change my mind’. This fragility is further exposed musically with the use of gently chiming bells amid the vocal harmony before pounding drums tub thump with a viscous distortion that is adhesive and gripping.

‘Minneapolis’ is a peculiar song of celebration where Vagabon reflects on her home and childhood in Cameroon and also seems to draw on the inspiration of mixed cultures and surroundings. Minneapolis is a stark contrast beside ‘Mal a L’aise’ sung completely in French with vocal layers and echoes painted over each other with flourishes of washy reflections.

‘100 years’ is a full on indie rock power tune unrelenting in crunchy chords and meaty strums that are solidified even further by the terra-firma drum calls battling underneath it all and allowing the vocals to float overhead.

‘Cleaning House’ is my favourite song. It is so personal, haunting and reflective. The gorgeous musical arrangements are eyeball deep in loneliness, saturated in tones of solitude and inadequacy, but no less robust in anticipation with the lingering synth drones that sporadically weave through the spine of the piece. I love the drum mix. I’m literally sitting next to the hi-hats. It truncates the underlying story-line perfectly and brings to life a moment of doubt, tension and uncertainty within the narrative,’What about them scares you so much? My standing there threatens your standing too.’… ‘You will raise your voice and talk aloud but once you didn’t have a voice at all.’

laetitia-tamko

‘Cold Apartment’ is similarly nostalgic and refers again to this past unrequited love, however, I find this musically alot more climactic with the pounding kick drum. The music and vocals once again beautifully connect in the phrase, ‘We said it’s not the end but “she wore that white dress so I changed”.’ and execute a colourful display of talent in such a simple and fun way, while Tamko’s voice is so sublime and fragile as she sings that it counterbalances the ‘technique-ness’ of this and makes it a winner of a tune.

‘Infinite Worlds’ comes to a close with ‘Alive and A Well’, a tuneful and melodic story sung with an acoustic guitar backed up with distinct vocal harmonies, smooth with a textured breath that brings the song to a close. This song portrays a picture of water and the essence of life; a gross reminder that a vast number of people worldwide have difficulty finding clean drinking water and basically surviving in an emotionally diverging and shallow technological age of corporate greed. Check the lines, ‘Hole on the ground “Well” (n): meaning to supply, Take what you need before it runs out, Don’ t check in to see if it’ s producing’… follow this up with a sample of the studio engineer/producer’s reaction to the first-rate performance of this song, it’s an excellent closure to the debut album by Vagabon.

The Sound Of Fighting Dogs has bought this album, we totally recommend you do too and continue to support great music.

https://vagabon.bandcamp.com/

 

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