Friday, August 26, 2022

Lauran Hibberd recruits her heroes for triumphant debut, ‘Garageband Superstar’

Isle of White-based artist Lauran Hibberd is a sign of the current music times. 

Her signature style blends ‘90s rock chick with personable girl-next-door, and her discography matches catchy, punky beats with equally disarming and vulnerable lyrics. 

However, while big-name stars including Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish have tipped their toes into punk-inflected pop of late, Hibberd’s sound feels experimental on its own terms. 

If anything, it most resembles slacker rock, a lo-fi, grungy genre born from the ‘90s music scene.

Part of what makes Hibberd’s music so appealing is her love of the craft. It leads to organic cross-genre experimentation within the rock bracket and creates room for artistic growth. ‘Garageband Superstar’, her first studio album, has flecks of hip-hop, indie-pop, and post-grunge.

The album opens with a bang in the form of ‘Rollercoaster’, a punchy track dripping with early 2000s-nostalgia which, alongside ‘Step Mum’, wouldn’t be out of place on a classic teen movie soundtrack.

Hibberd's writing is frequently witty, especially on 'Average Joe' where she feigns envy towards a guy who posts "no-filter" car pics on Instagram and "thinks a leg day's unmissable". But there is also an underlying sense of genuine begrudgement of all the things that "Joe" doesn't have to deal with, like contemplating life's meaning or being "thrown in the deep end". It’s no wonder that Hibberd’s life is beginning to lack normalcy - her ascending celebrity is demonstrated by the appearance of some of her self-confessed heroes on 'Garageband Superstar's track list. Wheatus vocalist Brendan B. Brown hops onto the title track while Limp Bizkit's DJ Lethal features on the sharply humorous 'Still Running (5K)'.

‘I’m Insecure’ combines guitar-led rock with frank self-effacement, and ‘Slimming Down’ peels back the heavy production to show a haunting vocal delicacy. “I guess you’re never really winning / at least I’m finally slimming down”, Hibberd sings, gorgeously meditating on the hollow pleasure of fitting cultural templates of perfection.

There is a moment of exposition a few seconds into ‘Slimming Down’ when Hibberd pauses and decides, “Nah, I’m gonna go again”. It lends warmth to an emotional song - a familiarity that is echoed in the spoken word opening to album closer, ‘Last Song Ever’, which urges its listener to “take a deep breath in through your nose / and out through your mouth”. Despite its sanguine beginning, ‘Last Song Ever’ is a messy and candidly tongue-in-cheek glimpse into a self-conscious modern psyche. Lyrical gems include - “I won’t get any hotter looking this stressed out … I need to chill the fuck out”.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Hibberd describes her music as “dad rock but also for their daughters”, self-deferentially dubbing herself “uncool”. She may have hit the nail on the head with her description - nostalgia for the dads, relatability for their daughters. But the essence of ‘Garageband Superstar’ is Hibberd herself, unapologetically unique, sincere, and fun. She is every bit of the modern superstar and one of the coolest up-and-comers of the moment.

Tickets to Lauran Hibberd’s Pub Quiz Instore Tour are available at upcoming venues in Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, London and more. If you fancy a live show like you’ve never seen before, don’t miss it!



Eleanor Burleigh


Image: ‘Garageband Superstar’ Official Album Cover

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