Album Review: Gravel And Wine

21 April 2012 | 7:02 pm | Marc Zanotti

Gravel And Wine plays as reckless, joyful and heartfelt.

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Gin Wigmore is the sultry songstress from New Zealand whose second record, Gravel & Wine, sees the free spirited singer embrace her wild side. With a greater sense of direction than 2009 debut, Holy Smoke, the theme throughout Gravel… revolves around an uncompromising and defiant protagonist who's just as likely to set your heart on fire, literally as well as figuratively.

Opening track, Black Sheep, sets the tone for the entire record, not necessarily in the sense of musical energy but in regards to Wigmore's mindset. The lyrics “Everybody's doing it so why the hell should I?” sums up Wigmore's rebellious attitude, while  “Once you go black, You never go back” twists the popular adage from a physical expression to a state of mind, indicating Gin's intoxication with her newfound state of unruliness.    

Yet it's not the words on the page that sell this persona but the raspy delivery of Wigmore's voice that conveys a genuine, and at times, complex character. The armour is stripped away momentarily on power ballads such as Saturday Smile where a yearning for connectivity in an emotionally reckless world opens up an underlining vulnerability. “I've stolen all the stars to make a wish we can fly” is a hopelessly romantic line and yet still shows a willingness by Wigmore to take what she wants, when she wants it.

Musically, Gravel & Wine mostly delivers a honkey tonk saloon style of rock'n'roll that helps elevate Wigmore's sass. Of course one can expect this kind of thing when recording in the Deep South. Gravel & Wine plays as reckless, joyful and heartfelt. With Western themes and Southern charm, this may be the record that sees Gin Wigmore inevitably adopted as our own.

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