Lauran Hibberd – Garageband Superstar

The Southern slack-pop-rocker drops her first full-length statement piece…

The once infamously indie Lauran Hibberd has finally brought us her debut full-length, and it comes with a sonic attitude that even she could not have foreseen; following a signing to Virgin Music, she is maximising every aspect of her persona. Amped-up guitars, newfound confidence and an invigorated energy and enthusiasm define the self-referential ‘Garageband Superstar’.

The introspective yet brash title track is just one example of this. Touching on imposter syndrome – hardly justified considering how long Lauran has grafted to reach this moment – Track 8 here is a relevant declaration or exploration of her identity. Acoustic-led progression flares into a bittersweet chorus about becoming something bigger, and maybe losing yourself in it. This diffidence is a direction not really explored in her discography previously, which her colourful adventures have come to define. Instead, we receive something exuberant, slightly abrasive and contemplative.

When Lauran first started making a name for herself with tunes like ‘Hunny Is This What Adults Do?’ and ‘Fun Like This’, no one could have guessed the artistic personality that would later come to be. She leans heavily into the flamboyance of pop-punk but grounds this in a familiar palette, albeit it bolstered by high-reaching production; ‘Hot Boys’ features a warbling riff line, and the exciting pop element shines. It is a shame, then, that the thematic backbone of the album isn’t as consistently surprising.

Lauran Hibberd – Garageband Superstar

‘Average Joe’ and ‘Hole In The Head’ allude to boys who overestimate themselves, a topic with broad scope for interesting observation, but here that doesn’t quite come to fruition. Her trademark humour isn’t unappealing, it has simply become a bit predictable in some specific corners. Fortunately, the roaring thrilling of the latter makes it a journey worth enduring, as there is certainly more on offer across the 12 tracks.

The glorious roar of ‘Rollercoaster’ leads into a bizarre but joyous thrasher about running (congrats for slipping that in, Lauran), and ‘Step Mom’ features a rich bassline that is hard to resist. A penultimate venture into synth-backed melancholy leads into the grandest attempt at a finale the Isle of Wight native has penned to date, defining a new style of ballad.

Capturing the versatility of Lauran Hibberd’s career in one much-anticipated record was always going to be a daunting task, and hyper-focusing on her current position manifests interesting results. This collection of tunes might not be a declarative summarisation of her career to date, but how could it be? A bold, contained statement nonetheless, doubling down on her niche style with a few twists and turns brings us some truly great moments to cherish. To experience it in full, you have to see a live show where the singer-songwriter excellently implements this material into a joy-fuelled performance.

6/10

Words: Finley Holden

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