While it’s really great to hear artists experimenting and focusing on lyrics, cohesion can’t take a backseat. For her new record Gobbinjr builds songs from the ground up, and uses some truly simple tones. Unfortunately this leaves her songs incredibly sparse and often so inconsistent in sound that it can feel draining. This said the wit and honesty of the lyricism redeems a lot of it.
Though it’s first verse is a little much, “Afraid Of Me” is a fun and emotionally rich song that kicks in with some really great arrangements. Though it stays quite spritely and light, there’s a lot of play in this end of the sonic spectrum. In the electronic bliss of “Bap (feat. Heeyoon) the song stays somewhat stagnant but plays with rounds of harmonies instead. While it’s a fun experiment it doesn’t offer too much variety after the fact.
The utterly blunt lyricism of awkward relationship problems of “Fake Bitch” is hilariously endearing and one that will make you really feel for Gobbinjr’s sense of humour. This reflection on people you shouldn’t date is a very human and fun rollick through navigating the dating world. However this lighthearted writing is more polarizing on “whydoistillcare” where certain sections fit their stripped down aesthetic, and some sounds come off too comedic in how bare bones and childish they are. Considering their Lynchian twists and small expansions in the arrangements, it’s a wonder they don’t start building early in the track.
This sparse writing does actually serve the dower notes of “Sorry Charlie” where the quiet offers the lyrics room to breathe. The simple way that Gobbinjr manages to recreate very classic pop harmonies make them feel new and all their own. As the grooves drive “November 163” it’s really fun to hear Emma Witmer really putting joy and playfulness into her vocals. The little details the synths take on as the song grows really breathe fresh air into the song.
An intimate recording makes “Joaquin” appropriately close and very emotionally heavy, as wind brings a natural energy to the track. With the lyrics at the forefront, Witmer’s matter-of-fact story and very real reflection of love is hard to take. After such a personal and sad track, it’s jarring to return to “Zitty McGee” as Witmer leans so wholeheartedly into her albums cheesy sounds it’s too much. While there really is a depth and heartfelt song here, it’s placement in the track list and overall delivery feels a little out of place.
“Friends” however brings a very demented energy to its child-like tones and makes its goofy sound become something subversively dark. Once the arrangements start to come in on “Immune” there’s a fun sense of character to Witmer’s big chorus hooks. Again however it’s her wit that really makes many of these songs work. The immediacy and brute honesty of “Politely” is as funny as it is refreshing, just as the pounding drum lines are to the album. This along with a rush of harmonies and bass hooks makes for one of the most fleshed out tracks of the whole album.
Words by Owen Maxwell