Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Your Friend Gumption Domino 2016
Taryn Miller, a Lawrence, KS resident originally from Winfield, Kansas, is Your Friend. Her first offering on Domino was the re-released EP Jekyll/Hyde which was filled with accessible experimentation and served as highlight for local artists. The EP's style is best summarized in a quote from a Kansas City paper Miller provided early this year at the eve of this album's release; "I stopped overthinking it, I was like, 'Do it for your own sake. Just enjoy it'"
The quote speaks volumes to the Jekyll/Hyde release. Those songs explored soundscapes without getting pretentious. However, Gumption, her debut LP, seems to be reaching and indeed, overthinking things. It's 8 songs, with each track nearing the 5 minute mark. Its songs find space and never come back. Tracks get stuck with Miller's big voice surrounded by drowning electronic sounds and sparse drums, which is pleasant, but it doesn't always feel like a song. There's good bits to be sure and of course, she doesn't have to write songs, Miller can be as punk rock as she wants. She could be saying, fuck songs and go Glenn Branca on everyone, she'd still be cool, but it still won't mean the album is any good.
Hopefully, this release serves to calm Miller down and help her return with a more focused effort. And sure, people will like Gumption's constantly meandering song structures, the whole LP messes around as much as most a Deerhoof album does (and people love that shit). But, Deerhoof's saving grace is they give you at least a few obvious hits for every 30 minutes of noodling around.