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The Guardian - G2 - - Reviews | Music - Dave Simp­son

Artist Gnash Al­bum We La­bel At­lantic

★★★★☆ “You broke my heart and all I got was this T-shirt,” sings the 25-year-old Cal­i­for­nia singer/ rap­per on re­cent sin­gle T-shirt. Af­fairs of the heart are of­ten dealt with in the con­text of the ev­ery­day on this, his de­but al­bum. Imag­ine If rewrites the his­tory of a dis­as­trous, in­ter­net-era re­la­tion­ship, imag­in­ing if “every­body stayed in love, stayed off­line …” The darker No­body’s Home finds him alone with “a whiskey and a phone”. It’s play­ful sym­bol­ism, but – fol­low­ing EPs U, Me and Us – this has deeper wa­ters. Many of the songs are highly in­ti­mate con­fes­sion­als about doubt, anx­i­ety and in­se­cu­rity. The song In­sane de­scribes an en­counter with his ther­a­pist, “pretending to be OK”, and in­cludes an admission that in­san­ity might at least pro­vide a way out of his wor­ries. Such dark angst isn’t de­liv­ered via blood­cur­dling black metal, but within an acous­tic, al­most nar­rated, singer-song­writer for­mat – think Jack John­son or the Postal Ser­vice – that’s sweet, not down­beat. The in­con­gruity could be cloy­ing if it wasn’t so well done, but re­wards re­peat plays. He’s at his most achingly con­fes­sional in The Bro­ken Hearts Club and beau­ti­fully candid in Dear In­se­cu­rity. The for­mer emo’s geeky, nerdy vo­cals take most time to ap­peal – al­though duets with Ben Abra­ham and Olivia O’Brien sweeten that pill – but the com­bi­na­tion of charm­ing tunes and hum­bling in­sights (“It’s not about the mis­takes you made or fail­ures that you had / It’s all about the mem­o­ries and lit­tle things you have”) are truly lovely.

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