Plucked harps, guitar climaxes, and retro, European disco. Sonically rich and impressively realised: Harvest Of Gold is the debut album from Melbourne’s Gossling.
Local music lovers are no strangers to Gossling’s mesmerising sound. There’s her cover of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s “Dance TheWay I Feel” for triple j’s Like A Version; a recent duet with Oh Mercy’s Alexander Gow for the Melodie Francaise compilation. TV fans of “Offspring” and”Gossip Girl” caught singles “Wild Love” (triple j’s #18 most played of 2012) and “Heart Killer” on their small screens. There’s guest appearances on”RocKwiz”, slots at festivals such as Falls, Southbound, Peats Ridge, and West Coast Blues ‘n Roots. And, of course, her spotlight-stealing vocals on the 4x platinum hit single by ARIA-winning hip-hop artist 360, “Boys Like You”.
Harvest Of Gold was recorded in 2013 at The Shed Studios in Canterbury, VIC, with producer John Castle (The Bamboos, Vance Joy,Washington). Helen – who switched her psychology/sociology studies at university to a Bachelor of Music (Composition) – wanted to capture her brand new songs in their full technicolour.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼A Juno synth set-up and Farfisa organ is all over songs like “Never Expire”, with its delectable, thrashing stabs. “Because I’ve come from a folky, acoustic background, the electronic aspect and new touches are what got me really excited. This feels like a new direction for me.” Glittery title track “Harvest Of Gold” – “It’s temporary love for you and me” – is a co-write with UK artist T Jay, Helen directing the metaphor of a field of love. On her demo for anxiety ballad “Pulse”, Helen fleshed out clarinet and Godfather-style string melodies; Castle helped realise her vision along side composer/trumpet player Ross Irwin.
Front and centre across the LP is Gossling’s magical voice –used to devastating effect on the heart-wrenching “Vanish”. Written in response to the death of Jill Meagher, Helen’s vocals were recorded at home, the intimate take capturing the effect the tragedy had on the singer. “I was angry for along time,” says Helen, of lines like, “Should we see what he wrote on her face?”. “The security footage… I was affected by the fact that we saw some ofher last moments. It was good it was put out there, but it also felt wrong, intrusive.”
Much more upbeat is vivid opener “Big Love”, with its joyous pop chorus, its lyrics spilling out in one hit from start to finish – “Probably my favourite song on the album,” Helen admits. The lazy lounge romance of Lee and Nancy-style “Songs Of Summer” is a co-write with Steve Parkin, and features Sparkadia’s Alex Burnett. Disco makes an appearance on “Challenge’, the first song written for the LP, while the baseline swagger of “Accolade” was crafted with the help of Alexander Gow, who Helen teamed up with during a stint at a writers’ retreat in Byron Bay.
“It’s something that’s really fun to me: composing all the instruments and fleshing out the parts,” says Helen of this record’s creation.”This record, I’m incredibly proud of it. I pinch myself regularly, realising it’s done, and wondering how the hell did I pull it off?”
Heartfelt, diverse, and seriously enchanting, Gossling’s debut album is the sound of an artist fully coming into her own.