Album Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: Lauran Hibberd - Garageband Superstar

Lauran HibberdGarageband Superstar is the much-anticipated debut album from Isle of Wight songstress Lauran Hibberd. Hibberd had her first breakthrough in 2018 with her slacker pop track, "Call Shotgun". Numerous singles and two EPs followed, each displaying a skilled lyricist who adores the sonics of grunge and power guitars.

What sets Hibberd apart from most pop acts is her comedic storytelling which frequently makes her the joke's punchline. She takes that winning ability on her debut and marries it to power grunge rock. Hibberd uses her sonic inspirations, Weezer, Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins, as guideposts to further her aspirations.

On Garageband Superstar, the tracks deliver energy galore. The opener, "Rollercoaster", a pop with grit outing, reflects bouncy No Doubt. Thematically, Hibberd examines her ups and downs, utilising self-deprecating humour as she realises she wants to be someone else. Throughout the release, Hibberd's ability to provide a cotton candy surface with deep rumination lurking beneath is noteworthy. On "Still Running", she discusses being on the treadmill of life and comparing herself to her peers. She questions why she obsesses over society's expectations, yearning to be free to be her unique self. Other songs like "That Was a Joke", "I'm Insecure", and "Slimming Down" all continue this revelry from different viewpoints. "I'm Insecure" offers one of the best lyrics in an album loaded with them: "I've got a bad case of Imposter Syndrome," identifying a common feeling many have experienced. Repeatedly the listener is struck by Hibberd's willingness to say the quiet parts out loud.

The title track "Garageband Superstar" is the stand-out offering on the album and finds Hibberd already weighing the drawbacks of stardom. She documents the things that shock her about even a modicum of fame. On the track, she further relates the idea that one is either chasing fame or running away from it because no reasonable person would want to sit on top of fame for long, or they would go mad. She conveys she already wants to run away.

Additional tracks of note are her spot-on character sketches on songs like "Step Mom", "Average Joe", and "Hot Boys". These offer laugh-out-loud vignettes of those she has encountered but also her insight that she could easily be one of these individuals. Her lyrics provide much more insight into the human psyche than the typical Pop outing.

The final track, "Last Song Ever", presents someone on the brink. She is stressed and is trying to calm herself down, using a deep breathing exercise as she begins. She states like a mantra throughout the track, "I need to calm down, I need to chill the fuck out." Her fear is palpable that her best intentions to break from her panic attack will never work. This last track certainly unveils this young artist's promise and potential.

Lauran Hibberd with Garageband Superstar captures all the characteristics that make her an interesting and almost iconoclastic performer. The album initially seems deceptively lightweight until the lyrical content makes its full impact. She does not fear taboos and is the first to hold her own thoughts and behaviours accountable. Her storytelling is utterly engaging as she marries it to sing along tunes that the listener can imagine will go down smooth in concert.

There is room for Hibberd to grow musically, but she can certainly hold her own on the lyric front. That ability is what grows the excitement to follow her trajectory. Hibberd on Garageband Superstar displays an up-and-coming performer with her feet securely on the ground while her head is in the clouds.


Lori Gava

Lori has been with XS Noize from the beginning and contributes album reviews regularly. Fav bands/artists: Radiohead, U2, The Cure, Arcade Fire, The Twilight Sad, Beck, Foals, Sufjan Stevens Fav Albums: In Rainbows, Achtung Baby, Disintegration, Funeral, Sea Change, Holy Fire, Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave.

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