Review by Gilan

Are you ready for some day dream distilled in a bottle? Good, Vagabon is here!

Vagabon is the stage name of one Laetitia Tamko, Cameroonian-American Indie/electro pop artist. Vagabon is a multi-instrumentalist and uses every instrument, every sound to layer up and create a sound that is not only unique but also that draws you in. The self-titled album was released in 2019 and is the second LP of hers.

The first thing you notice straight away is that she has such a distinctive voice. It is so soft, powerful, interesting and beckoning all at once. The next is the diverse mix of sounds used. This album takes you to both that pumped-up dream-poppy playful place, and that severe heavy big orchestral mood – plus everywhere in between. Big string sections and occasional horns slide in and out with lots of fragile synth and gorgeous beats. Her lyrics are often simple or sparse and yet somehow she manages to tell a big story so well.

A few standout tracks for me:

‘Flood’ – A song about trying to run away from your emotions of longing and uncertainty in a relationship (whether they be things you want from the other person or things you want from yourself for that person) but knowing full well you can’t.

‘Water me down’ – A song about coming out of what sounds like a toxic entanglement, one that dilutes or dims your spark, and realising that you can and want to do better next time. We all need to find those people who lift us up and who we can lift up.

‘Wits about you’ – this song is getting a mention for my favourite line I have heard in a while:” I was on my way to the party, they wouldn’t let my people in…well then never mind.”  

‘Lastly, Every Women’ – This track is my personal favourite. It is a simple folk song, with a simple guitar and vocal mix with little splats of ethereal synth in the background. The lyrics are vague but hint enough at the universal struggle and exhaustion of women everywhere. Trying to be nurturing, to live a live and hold everything together. We are not afraid, but this is a hard job.

Overall this album tugged at my bloody heart strings with its raw emotional innocence and honesty. I cannot wait to see what comes next from Vagabon!!!

Listening recommendation:  find a good spot to stare at the sky and stick this on. Take this journey!

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