Review: Vagabon – ‘Infinite Worlds’
Posted: by admin
Lætitia Tamko, better known by Vagabon, breathlessly tears open her new album Infinite Worlds singing “I feel so small,” which seems like it can’t possibly be true, as poised for a breakout year as she is. Her album has been garnering ‘Best New Music’ nods since its advance stream in the weeks leading up to the release, and we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it. “I’m just a small fish and you’re just a shark that hates everything,” Tamko shouts, the intensely relatable lyrics speaking to her ever-present feeling of being an outsider. She came to the U.S. from Cameroon as a teenager, one the most awkward and socially ill-fitting times in most people’s lives, she studied engineering in college, a space not traditionally welcome to women, or women of color. She made music her hobby and has carved out a niche for herself in the NYC DIY community, one that, while changing for the better, is notoriously white and male.
The remaining seven songs on the album also toy with themes of belonging and listeners can find their home in her words. With upbeat and openly strummed guitars, her warm tones and steady rhythms will wrap you up in sound. In the middle of the album “Mal à L’aise,” French for “ill-at-ease, uncomfortable,” will make you anything but. It’s got humming synths, distant and whispered lyrics, and soothing taps and pops, an almost tropical feel. We belong here.
“Cleaning House” begs the question “What about them scares you so much?” She continues, “my standing there threatens your standing too.” It’s the plea of someone begging for their humanity to be recognized, one that is all too familiar in this political climate. What about folks having a place at the table makes you feel so uncomfortable? And in the end, like so many people did during election season and since, she cuts them out: “so long my old friend, you’re only a casualty, and I’m cleaning house again.” The better people we surround ourselves with, the better our lives will be. We can make our own families from those who don’t question our right to exist.
The album closes with “Alive and A Well,” the title a front hiding the lyrics of a worn-down narrator. Over gentle guitar picking, she sings “take what you need and go, I don’t have it in me to give everyone everything,” a sentiment felt by many women and those in an intersection of minority groups. It is difficult to take care of yourself in times like these, when so much attention needs to be paid to a multitude of issues. After the take, while the chills her earnest and pure voice gave you are settling back down, you can catch a stray comment after a final guitar squeal saying “I mean, that was it, right? That was insane.” And it was.
You can get the album from Father/Daughter Records, with an option for a beautiful metallic silver LP, here.