While it may be silly to harp on a band name — so many are trite, coy, or altogether irrelevant — few seem to fit the music to which they've been applied as well as Your Friend suits Taryn Miller. "Gumption," the Lawrence, Kan., artist's immensely accomplished debut album, places her firmly in the avant-pop traditions of Bjork, Stereolab, and Kate Bush. With somnolent tempos and vaporous melodies, Miller declares that Your Friend is in it for the long haul, here for you in good times and bad. "Gumption" is not an album that goes for the jugular or tries to tap a vein from the first bar. It unwinds slowly and surely — from the languid shuffle of "Heathering" to the dark, droning synthesis of "Who Will I Be in the Morning," Miller incorporates field recordings and dub architecture, fashioning a sound that could delight fans of Eno and Enya alike. "Gumption" exhibits a mastery of texture and tension that's surely a harbinger for the exciting career Miller has ahead.
ESSENTIAL "Nothing Moved"
Sean L. Maloney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.