Album Review: Denim Gorgeous – What Salt’s Worth (Winner NMF Ep 54)

Originally from Australia, the singer songwriter Denim Gorgeous is a thoughtful and engaging artist. The way that these songs take shape, you’ll hear deep emotions and melancholic style. It’s a really fascinating musical style that you’ve probably never heard before.

The opening “No Nos” confronts some of the difficult social situations in life. It’s written to a specific person. But one of the interesting things about Denim Gorgeous is the balance between the peaceful acoustic guitar and the understated, almost spoken vocal. On this track, in particular, it feels haunting.

“Jeans” has a strumming style that feels comfortable. It’s evident that the recording is intentionally raw in the opening, but as the layered vocals come into the track it takes on another tone. Reminding me a bit of a cross between YouTuber Josh Schott and successful Americana artist Rayland Baxter. I dig the sound.

“Nomad” was the song that won this feature and for good reason. The guitar work and the vocal dance together beautifully. There are some minor key changes in this track that show a sophisticated understanding of folk singing. It’s not a sound you hear often and Denim Gorgeous pulls it off expertly. This song has a sound that is alternative and supremely cool. The plaintive, “but now I’m alright” really resonates with me. It’s about dealing with your own life.

Both “Grandpa” and “Champas” finish out the album with similar relaxed tones. The final track “Champas” is a bit more engaging with the harmonica used to bring in some different textures. But these songs are also lyrically driven with thoughtful sentiments and a critical edge. The way that the vocal works, especially on “Champas” is like a blend of alt rock grunginess from the 90s with more of a pop inflection. It comes out with a totally likeable and intriguing style.

If you’re looking for a nice happy family album, I wouldn’t go with Denim Gorgeous. But if you’re looking to get in touch with your angsty, existentially questioning side, this is the album for you. It’s thoughtful and critical, causing you to wrestle with deep baggage. It’s also wonderfully engaging as a work of music and art.

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