Gordi – Reservoir (Limited Gold Vinyl)
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Under the name Gordi, Australian folktronica singer/songwriter Sophie Payten leapt into the public eye in early 2016 thanks to a melancholic yet winsome little EP called Clever Disguise. After earning plenty of accolades at home, the Sydney-based musician picked up a deal with Jagjaguwar, the American label which launched the career of one of her biggest influences, Bon Iver. Gordi ended her banner year with a spare, elegiac cover of the aforementioned's "00000 Million" and, with the release of her 2017 full-length debut, Reservoir, she takes her own shot at the international main stage. While Payten's introspective musings sometimes come across as intimate, Reservoir is at its core a sweeping gesture full of big, lush sounds bearing a wide scope. Slow-building cinematic backdrops meet percussive electronic dissonance on anthemic songs like "Long Way" and "All the Light We Cannot See," while the S. Carey-assisted "I'm Done" shines a light or her folkier tendencies. At her best moments, like on the lovely "Bitter End" and the previously released standout "Can We Work It Out," Gordi flashes the kind of serious songwriting chops that transcend their own stylish presentations. Still, much of Reservoir feels like an exercise in fussy production techniques layered over material by an artist who holds plenty of promise.