Published Feb 01, 2017Since 2010, Her Harbour has changed from band to solo act several times, but it's always reflected Gabrielle Giguere's unearthly lo-fi folk sound, characterized by the blanket of autoharp and piano wrapped around her melodious voice and spine-tingling, largely autobiographical songs.
Her Harbour's sophomore album, Go Gently Into the Night, is a reminder of mortality via themes of seasons, deadly changes and moon phases. Giguere's songwriting and vocal abilities have sharpened since her 2013 debut Winter's Ghosts, and her poetic descriptions of deterioration pair well with the experimentation of her voice as an instrument. Some words are stretched completely out of their meanings, the sounds becoming part of the song structure — especially on "Below Breaths" and "Memento Mori."
Additional vocals by Philippe Charbonneau (Scattered Clouds) and Isaac Vallentin flesh out the choir on the cavernous soundscapes here, which are complemented by strings from Mika Posen (Merganzer), vibraphone from Olivier Fairfield (Timber Timbre, Last Ex) and keys from Dave Draves, who recorded Go Gently Into the Night at Little Bullhorn Productions.
The album meditates on heartbreak and grief, as on "In Nude, in Fog and River," with the patient but raw lines: "Jealous boy, you'd rather I die than sing / Jealous boy, you'd rather I die than swim in nude…" Though morose, Go Gently Into the Night isn't quite morbid. The usual memento mori, a human skull, never materializes, though ghosts, hearses and other bones float by. The widely accepted idea that spring is a time only of renewal and birth is simply refuted here, with depictions of both the delight and despair that come with the acceptance of mortality. (E-Tron Records)