Recommended Tracks: “Give It”, “Snow White”, “Margaret”
Artists You May Like: Florence + The Machine, Daughter, Marika Hackman
Chalk. Fertilizer. Drywall. What do these three products have in common? Besides helping us out with projects and yard activities, they all contain a mineral called gypsum. Known for its many uses and forms, gypsum leads to a variety of possibilities – including giving post-rock group Gypsum their name. After learning more about the mineral on a field trip to LA’s Natural History Museum, Gypsum found that the name suited their eclectic style and desire to create music that never ceases to amaze. Ready to officially share their identity with the world, Gypsum give us their eponymous debut album, doing well to represent all the complexity and beauty found in the crystal that started it all.
All three members of Gypsum are present and accounted for on this album, especially in the vocal work. Their rich tones blend together to create a lush, haunting ambience that can be heard throughout the album, from the ethereal “Lungs” to the animated “Give It.” Additionally, the calm and clear-cut vocals bring a life all their own, one that does not need to be showy or accentuated by flashy riffs to make a point. The languid, drawn-out lines of “Gull Lake,” for instance, only add to the grace and ingenuity of the track, showing that sometimes, less is more.
There are times when the rhythms and layers of instrumentation take over, though, picking up where some of the vocals leave off. Magnetic guitar work shows off the band’s skill and dexterity, as heard in the shimmering vibes of “Satisfied,” for instance, or the summery sounds of “Grafting.” We also get driving drum patterns and crafty hi-hat work, as featured on opening track “Follow Me,” that bring colorful textures to the songs on the album. All of the riffs and breakdowns make a lasting impression, even if they do end up sounding a bit similar from one track to another.
The storytelling we hear in the lyrics ties everything together, giving us glimpses into the life and times of the band. Gypsum’s unique observations come through in lines like “Run as fast as you can / Stay and you don’t stand a chance” from “Follow Me” and “I am paralyzed by paths I have never been told” on the illustrious “Margaret.” The descriptions in “Snow White” held my attention the most, though, as lyrics like “Mirror on the wall / Keeps my eyes on you,” made for a dreamy and adventurous tale. It is clear that Gypsum have a lot to say, and by telling us what they have been through, they are inspiring the next generation of musicians and artists to also share what makes them feel whole.
Overall, Gypsum is a satisfying concoction of the bands and genres that the trio grew up with. Tastes of punk, psychedelic, and Brazilian music can be sampled no matter where you start of stop the album, in the best way possible. These unusual mixtures of sound bring about mystery and intrigue from song to song, giving the listener something new to behold every time. In the end, Gypsum have very much achieved what they set out to make, and leave us all wondering what could be next.
You can listen to Gypsum on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.
Grab tickets to Gypsum’s album release show at Zebulon in LA on October 13 here.