When the calmest cut is the deepest.
Gordi has a fascinating way of making her alt-folk pop music feel like its the softest, calmest and safest place to be. Her music is intrinsically warm and blended together to feel like it is giving you a hug. That safety lets Gordi’s lyrics then cut through so many topics and thoughts without pretence and drama. It is a great way to do pop with meaning.
Possibly the only other artist I feel that conducts their music in this way that I know of is Joy Askew. The focus across the album is making sure that Gordi’s voice is the warm sunshine – no matter what pain she is singing about. It could be the devastatingly simple ballad ‘Aeroplane Bathroom’ where a quiet breakdown is taking place. It could be on the radio-smash-in-waiting ‘Sandwiches’ that delights in its sad tinted riffs. Aside from one brief moment in the dramatic climax of ‘Volcanic’, Gordi sits as the friendly narrator and the instruments sit around her.
This transfers over to the album’s production too. Keyboards are full of fades. Drums often feel brushed alongside plenty of acoustic and electric guitars that focus on playing together rather than being dramatic and rocky. The result is that ‘Our Two Skins’ is an album that glides effortlessly from track to track like warm syrup. You don’t get albums made like this often these days and it is a genuine pleasure to listen to.
It also brings accessibility to an album that is heavily focused on mental health. Many of the lyrics across the album focus on key moments where emotions fray or snap. The fantastic tempo change in ‘Volcanic’ also illustrates how moods change whilst elsewhere the alt-pop feels of ‘Hate The World’, ‘Limits’ and ‘Unready’ all play with flutterings of sound samples to allude to thoughts and feelings like a collage. That lets all the songs sound full and punchy without them ever doing a dramatic throwdown. All of them you’d not think twice about hearing on BBC Radio 6 and you could drive with your car roof down on a joyous road trip to them and at the same time have them as a soundtrack to ball your eyes out to. It is a delicate balance but Gordi has hit both sides perfectly. That goes for even the devotional beauty of ‘Extraordinary Life’ which says so much about love without making it mushy.
‘Our Two Skins’ is an album that runs the risk of being overlooked because of how refreshingly disarming it is. Gordi doesn’t need to scream and shout, she uses clever rhythms and catchy riffs to hide the deeper messages inside. You’ll feel like you are enjoying an indie-folk/pop hybrid album that you can be breezy with. Then a few listens in you’ll be mining lyrics and thinking ‘Yep – that stings’. Superb.
Recommended track: Sandwiches
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