Evidently I have been living in an airtight bubble for the last few years. I had never heard of Gin Wigmore until now. I’m fairly sure everybody else at GIITTV has heard of her, of course, because she’s HUGE. That’s not a misogynistic, weight-related comment, incidentally. I am merely pointing out that she is big news, at least back in her homeland of New Zealand where she has achieved the holy grail of success, with her first three studio albums all attaining number one status.
It’s not hard to see why, as she effectively marries an infectious pop quality with a feisty, gritty realism that should – and does – appeal to all ages.
A whole host of modern contemporaries can be held up as exhibits here. For example, the opening ‘New Rush’ is like Nelly Furtado performing the kind of 21st-century glam-disco stomp with which Goldfrapp made their name. Or there’s the next track, ‘Nothing To No One’ with Wigmore’s ferocious vocal juxtaposed amongst the tinkling ivories and sounding like Paloma Faith has written a song for Duffy to sing. ‘This Old Heart’ highlights the gossamer thread between Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom, and ‘Black Parade’ is a morose, piano led ballad in which the gravelly-voiced singer seems more in thrall to the likes of Emmylou Harris. It’s a rather orchestral sounding piece that comes across rather deep and heartfelt, Wigmore silently drowning in her own bitter tears.
‘Written In The Water’ is the type of rock ‘n’ roll that Billy Joel advocated on his 1983 hit ‘Tell Her About It’. It’s immediate and punchy, with Wigmore’s range now encapsulating the soulful wholeheartedness of Amy Winehouse, while ‘In My Way‘s altogether more pensive beginning soon gives way to a driving beat reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac‘s ‘Big Love’, yet somehow it feels as though it could have slotted quite easily onto a Sophie B Hawkins album.
There are bluesy call and response songs here, soft rock melodies, near-bubblegum pop and the sparse, stripped down finale – just Wigmore’s voice and piano, of ‘I Will Love You’. It’s a striking, rather beautiful number and a further indication of just how much variety this artist is capable of.
It feels a little too “coffee table” to wholly appeal to my own personal tastes, but that’s really my only criticism, and I would have no qualms whatsoever, should she carry antipodean mainstream success over here to the UK. A satisfying release.