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Melbourne’s own Gossling is back with her much-awaited debut album, Harvest Of Gold. Gossling a.k.a. singer/songwriter Helen Croome, has crafted a 10-track gem filled with distinctive and dreamy vocals and a wonderfully produced sound that combines touches of electronica and confident percussion with whimsical harps and guitar, that give the album a glittery, retro-meets-pop quality.
We open with Big Love, a controlled and delicate beginning with Croome’s pretty, childlike vocals luring the listener in, before big percussion and synth open up the track with a lush poppy chorus. The wonderfully thoughtful lyrics are like a flowing waterfall in this track. Asks Croome: “What are we made of, big or little love?”.
The title track begins with ominous marching percussion and features some ridiculously catchy hooks. The song has potential to be a massive commercial success for Gossling, with its alluring undertone. Meanwhile, Never Expire is packed with attitude and honest lyrics that tell the story of a love falling apart: “Talking of faults, shifting blame from yourself / Caught in a mess of words when you try lying as help”. You can’t help but think who might’ve inspired this song and its expressions of pain.
Songs Of Summer is a gorgeous, laid-back track co-written with Steve Parkin (Basement Birds) and features Sparkadia‘s Alex Burnett. Themes of love and heartbreak continue, as the lyrics tell of a love that slowly crumbled, “Where did we go? Where did our songs of summer go?” she asks. The track is musically reminiscent of Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave’s duet Where the Wild Roses Grow, possessing similarly vulnerable, haunting vocals and slow and steady percussion.
Vanish is a very interesting and melancholy track when taking into account the context. Written in the wake of the murder of Jill Meagher, it’s an incredibly intimate and personal piece of music. Croome told record label Dew Process:
“I was angry for a long time…I was affected by the fact that we saw some of her last moments. It was good it was put out there, but it also felt wrong, intrusive.”
The lyrics are incredibly heartfelt and provoke such raw emotion, commenting on what many Melbornian’s might have been thinking in response to the tragedy: “I hasten my walk and I worry, has my safety been what I thought? / Look over my shoulder, straight away sorry, my heart is on rapid”. The track has an eerie, industrial feel to it, while maintaining a simplicity to allow the lyrics to grab onto the listener. The lyrics end truthfully and thoughtfully: “The streets stay the same, but now we all know her name.”
The track Challenge has a retro, disco vibe and contains lengthy, whimsical hooks that show off Croome’s delicate and sweet-sounding vocals. Though occasionally, the length of the hooks and their resemblance to each other make the track slightly repetitive.
Pulse has an interesting sound and possesses a vulnerable and haunting quality, much like Vanish, but is more theatrical due to the deep percussion and Croome’s high tones. The cryptic lyrics add to the mystery of the track, setting apart from other songs on the album. We close on a calming, almost hypnotic note with A Lovers’ Spat.
Harvest Of Gold is a stunning debut album. The lyrics are honest and heartfelt and seem to come from a real place of wisdom. The arrangements and melodies on each track have been expertly produced and create an air of gracefulness present throughout the album, a gracefulness which is also heard in Croome’s beautifully distinctive vocals. Gossling’s debut album is a delight on every level.