By Lindsey Petterson
Album: Infinite Worlds
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Vagabon released their first full length album, Infinite Worlds, on February 24, 2017. The New York band is mostly the work of Laetitia Tamko with the help of friends and other artists. Tamko got her start by listening to music on the radio and dreaming up the possibility of making her own music one day. After posting her lo-fi tunes on Bandcamp, she started playing small shows in New York and her dream became a reality. In an interview with Pitchfork, Tamko said she wanted her art to reach “weird girls,” especially women of color, like herself, because of her “desire to see more black girls making this kind of music.”
Vagabon is signed to Father/Daughter Records alongside groups like Forth Wanderers, Hiccup, and PWR BTTM. This is Tamko’s first release with the label, as her previously released demos were independent projects, and her first EP, Persian Garden, was released with Miscreant Records. Her hard work shows in the quality of production.
The first song, “The Embers”, focuses heavily on vocals and lyrics that are confessional and apologetic about Tamko’s feelings of being similar to a “small fish” who cannot compete with a shark. The lyrics perhaps reveal the artist’s inner battle with feeling like she does not fit in or cannot make a difference in her world. The instrumentation in the song begins simple but becomes more powerful as it goes on. “Fear and Force” deals with the feeling of physically being in the wrong place due to a now regretted decision. This song features drum synth and finger-picking guitar that allow the focus of the song to be on the lyrics while still providing a meaningfully simple background.
“Mal á L’aise” really shows Tamko’s talents in producing and sampling. “You know my kind of high” is repeated throughout the five-minute song while quieter, almost understandable words are spoken over it. This song is very different from the rest of the songs but provides an interesting break from the introspective punk heard on the rest of the album. This track is an interesting listen, making it a personal favorite on the album.
The album continues with songs of imagery filled memories in “100 Years” and heartbreak leading to emptiness yet to be fulfilled in “Cold Apartment.” The songs were clearly recorded with passion and pain because as a listener, it is easy to pick up on her emotions and feelings. The continuation of finger-picking guitar throughout the album makes the album consistent and comfortable yet is diverse enough to keep the listener’s attention. The last song, “Alive and A Well” is the most simplistic song on the album, but possibly the most beautiful. The calmness ties the entire emotion filled album together, but still leaves me wanting more.
Overall, Infinite Worlds is an excellent album for introspection and light commentary on the world around Laetitia Tamko. I highly recommend this album. While the album is mostly Tamko’s work, Elaiza Santos, Greta Kline, and Eric Littman provide additional vocals, and various other artists contributed to the instrumentation of various songs. Catch Vagabon on various tours in Texas in April.