Gabriella Cohen, Full Closure and No Details: An Album Review

Words and Interview by Bella Spencer

From the first ‘Ah’ of Gabriella Cohen’s new album- Full Closure and No Details– you’re soothed by the rhythms and transfixed by the ‘who does that sound like?’ feeling. There are echoes of many artists throughout the 10 songs – from Courtney Barnett (Cohen also hails from the Pacific) to the Velvet Underground to Kate Bush. But this hotpot of influences results in a new sound – in part to the eclectic arrangement of instruments (keep your ears pricked for the organ and some cheeky synth) – avoiding that stale ‘it’s been done before’ feeling.

The album is an emotional ride that will have you resisting the urge to sing along on the back seat. It’s melancholic, it’s joyous, it’s relatable. She captures the pitfalls of having feelings people can meddle with – ‘Well I don’t quite know what you were thinking when you slipped into the stinking hell that you brought down on me’. The album feels like a late night recital of her diary (admittedly, one more poetic and less melodramatic than mine) without feeling over indulgent or cobbled together.

The instruments provide a story of their own. Dream Song, an instrumental, perfectly captures that hazy daze of a midday snooze, while the melancholic Piano Song was recorded on the old, out-of-tune piano her band mate learnt to play on  as a child (do not be discouraged, it is beautiful). And, if you’ve got an ounce of teenage angst left in you, the twangs of the guitar of Alien Anthem, along with the feisty lyrics, will have medicinal qualities.

Photo courtesy of Annabelle Aronica

We caught up with the singer-songwriter and former front woman of The Furrs  for some quick fire questions to get a peek into her life.

What did the 12 year old you want to do when she grew up and what would she make of you now?
My 12 year old self was living in New Zealand, skipping class to play drums, and dearly infatuated with a boy in her class. She was a sure entrepreneur – with ambitions to be a chef, a real estate agent, an actress and a jingle writer. I think she would be proud but she would wonder why her older version grimaces like she did when she was 12…

Have you always been into song writing and performing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. It is a good way for me to document what has been happening. My musical journey up until this point- from a basement in a small town in Pennsylvania – has been rewarding and much more than I could have asked for.

What was your process for writing and recording the album?
It wasn’t planned at all. Which is good. The songs write themselves, as a means to an end, and then it was a stroke of luck when Kate (close friend, bandmate, and engineer) told me her parents were off on a cruise for 10 days, and that we should drive out to the country and record an album. I remember casually agreeing at the kitchen table- we were like – yeah let’s make a record. Cool!

Did you have particular inspirations for the songs?
These songs are pretty old now, forgive me, but you could bow to Smokey Robinson, Lou Reed, Vashti Bunyan, Joni Mitchell, L. Cohen, Michael Jackson.

Photo courtesy of Kain Balzary (edited by B.Spencer)

Your songs have a strong sense of emotion, do you feel the emotions described every time you perform them?
Yes, but the visions and the visionaries fade so sometimes they are clear and other times they present themselves differently.

How do you feel before a performing a gig?
Rickety.

What’s on your rider?
MORE GINGER PLEASE.

 

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