The Lower Depths is a recording project from Angus Gibson. His recent release The Wild Environments is a demo quality recording that showcases an artist with some talent but who still has some work ahead of him if he hopes to get close to his goal of creating the “perfect record.”
Gibson recorded everything and there are a number of things left to be desired. His vocals are consistently way too buried in the mix and it's extremely hard to make out any of the words he is singing. Gibson occasionally sings in this Dylan-esque way but often slurs his words as if he is tipsy or extremely lethargic. Gibson’s vocal style bears some resemblance to Lou Reed and even more so to Kurt Vile.
“The Restless Spirits” is the opener, which sounds as if it's barely being held together. The song isn’t always in time and lead guitar and percussion are the key elements. “Death Is a Loving Affair” slowly trudges along and works decently enough. That being said the song like the previous one is noticeably off time at points and feels as it could crumble at any second.
As the album progresses “Nowhere Blues” is one of the highlights but contains digital distortion which is distracting while “Nothing At All” is a distorted instrumental piece that is more or less one big solo. Gibson has some success with the closer “Solo Flyer/Armed Provider.”
If Gibson hopes to compete with formidable bands than the recording quality is going to have to improve. There are too many aesthetic issues here to even qualify some of these recordings as lo-fi. When it comes to the music Gibson has some talent but still needs to do some digging to figure out who he is as an artist. The similarities to Kurt Vile become more apparent as you listen to the music.
Furthermore, Gibson may want to tone down the nonchalant, hyperbolic “I don’t care enough to try and sing” vocal style. That goes for his instrumental style as well. On some songs he sounds good but other it seem obvious he is trying to fit that role rather than to sing in a more natural way.
The good news for Gibson is that he is releasing a lot of music. As long as he continues to work on his craft his own style will become more defined and some of the parts that need tweaking will get tweaked. I hope to hear more from the artist soon.
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