Tia Gostelow - Thick Skin LP

The red haze on the album artwork of Tia Gostelow’s debut album, Thick Skin captures her tranquil sentiment perfectly; a young artist finding her voice in an indie dream state.

Thick Skin opens with ‘Giants’, a track that opens small and brooding, but loses none of its immersive splendour as it builds to an enormous climax. With a simple guitar riff, it’s Tia’s poignant voice that leads the listener to understand her purpose.

In an anthemic call to arms, ‘Hunger’ wastes no time in launching into a powerful ballad about finding oneself. ‘Phone Me’ follows with a refreshing washed out, dream pop sound.

‘Strangers’ features fellow indie-pop singer, LANKS with raw and emotive vocal pairing. It’s gorgeous and one of the more folk inspired songs on Thick Skin. ‘Out of Mind’ bridges the gap between Tia’s folk and dream pop sounds in an intimate affair.

‘Vague Utopia’ was released in 2016, the earliest single for Thick Skin and it’s clear to see how the blend of breezy folk and indie-rock guitar riffs drew in an audience for Tia’s future releases. ‘Blue Velvet’ feels like a mixture of the addictive dreariness of Lana del Rey’s best, with the subtle bittersweet optimism of early Mazzy Star; from an album of hits, it’s a personal favourite of mine.

‘Hey Friends’ amps up the grunge whilst remaining true to Thick Skin’s indie-folk aesthetic, it’s borderline shoegaze and is a testament to the richly, diverse sounds that Tia Gostelow has been able to naturally channel into her debut. ‘State of Art’ continues to channel Tia’s indie-folk sonic aesthetic to gorgeous heights.

‘Outer Space’ introduces a supporting electronic, synthetic influence into Tia’s music. It’s a risky move to incorporate new production styles so late into an album, but thanks to subtle nuances in her addition of it, it pays off and may be an indication of a potential future direction for her music. Thick Skin closes with ‘That’s What You Get’; previously released as a single, the track acts as a perfect summarisation of the various genres dappled in throughout Thick Skin.

After listening to Thick Skin, a strong debut from Tia Gostelow, I’m eager to hear where she takes her now mature sound next!

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Sean Tayler