Australia’s GOSSLING is quietly brewing a revolution against the status quo, all powered by delicate and sophisticated vocals. There’s no swagger here, no bravado, instead GOSSLING’s music proves the irresistible power of minimalism.
“I’m interested in music that stirs emotion,” says GOSSLING’s mastermind Helen Croome, about her latest album, Harvest of Gold. The debut LP follows the critically-lauded EPs which earned Croome accolades and airtime in Australia and activated a global audience, earning GOSSLING a stellar 2014 set at South-By-Southwest and performances in the UK too.
Raised in the country town of Wodonga, Croome’s musical career began when she moved to Melbourne. Named after her grandmother, GOSSLING became her moniker. She studied music and considered becoming a soundtrack composer. “I loved writing music for horror films,” she says. “A scary movie is made more terrifying because of the music and I love those themes with the lush string lines and melodies.”
The road to Harvest of Gold was a paradoxical journey. “I decided to go away to Tasmania,” she says, “I thought that I needed to go away and be by myself, being lonely and depressed, and that would be where I could write new material. So, I went away with my laptop and keyboard, got lonely and depressed, and didn’t write anything.” When she got back to Melbourne, that’s when her creativity exploded. “Melbourne is full of musicians, artists and lots of venues. And I feed off that energy. I need to be surrounded by creative people and bands, my family and friends to feel connected.”
Back in Melbourne she teamed up with producer John Castle and set up shop in his studio called The Shed. “It’s really a shed,” Croome laughs, “it’s a three room shack near his house, and John and I would toy around with keyboards and drums. The mics are set up to be live. If you have an idea, we put it down right away.”
The quick production session created the succinct sound of Harvest of Gold - nothing overwrought, just simple songs with lush textures and vocal hooks that deftly weaves complex emotional themes throughout. The title track marches forward, as her vocals sail and swoon above the pulsing beats. While the song feels cheerful, Croome says the lyrics dive deeper. “It compares relationships to fields of wheat; when you’re sewing the grains, then the relationship grows, and the final harvest is the breakdown of that relationship, the breakup.” The bass-driven album opener “Big Love” tiptoes along with faint heartbeat rhythm, then explodes into an expansive starscape of guitars and keys. “We have big and little loves,” Croome says about the song. “Those big loves seem to fill us up, but those are the ones that can be the most damaging. It’s the little loves that really foster the strongest relationships.” The swaying string section of “Songs of Summer” provide the backdrop for Croome’s otherworldly vocals paired with the crooning voice of London singer Alex Burnett.
The songs on Harvest of Gold are a collection of airy pop numbers taken from summer outings and evening adventures. After all, Croome says that her music isn’t just a reflection of self, but universal themes that people can relate to, including herself. “95% of my songs are about my friend's or other people's relationships because I find it difficult to write about my life directly, but sometimes when I get to the end of writing a song I realize that I have actually had a similar experience and can relate to the storyline."