It’s probably no coincidence that Australia’s Gordi – aka Sophie Payten – looks a bit like Metal Gear Solid‘s Cyborg Ninja on the cover of Reservoir. On Heaven I Know, her standout moment in the lead-up to this excellent debut full-length, she manipulates her voice around loops for something that seems both emotional yet disaffected all at once.
It’s a hard tightrope to walk, but therein lies Gordi’s entire appeal. Clockwork soundtracks the stunning opener Long Way as Payten sings “Does it feel to you like it felt before, like a trigger’s gone you don’t know what for, like you lost control when you needed more?”. It’s a breathtaking, relentless and intense moment that lays down the foundation for one solid fact: Gordi is a singer-songwriter to celebrate.
Not just that, mind. On My Side proves her full command of pop structure, delivering a thumping chorus that wraps perfectly around her vocal layers. Bitter End gives her the space for her “don’t deny me” ballad, a moment of calm that again blends the artifice with heart in a manner few can manage. And her folkier beginnings burst through as the ever-reliable S. Carey joins in for the lovely I’m Done.
It’s a little reductive to compare her style to that of Francis and The Lights, but it’s hard to avoid it on songs like Myriad. But where Francis seems more introspective and reserved, Gordi doesn’t shy away from giving her resignation the grand scale it deserves – as Aeon and Can We Work It Out build with epic grandeur, Gordi once again crystallises that perfect balance of natural and man-made. It’s a sound that might take people a while to get used to, but there’s no certainly no question about the depth of talent in this Reservoir.
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