Vagabon – Sorry I Haven’t Called
Vagabon is a 30-year-old self-taught multi-instrumentalist. Originally from Cameroon, she and her family emigrated to New York when she was 13, and she taught herself guitar soon after by watching YouTube. This is her third studio album, following on from 2019’s self-titled breakthrough record. Whilst her debut was in the indie, guitar-based sphere and the followup changed pace into soft electronics, this collecton is yet another reinvention, with ebullient pop with dancefloor inflections. It is a breezy, relaxed, conversational album with vocals that are silky and understated.
Opening track Can I Talk My Shit? shows Vagabon’s statement of intent through its intimate and conversational lyrics: “Can I talk my shit? / I got way too high for this”. Of the making of this album, the artist says: “I didn’t feel like being introspective. This whole record is how I talk to my friends and how to talk to my lovers. I think honesty and conversational songwriting can become poetry. There’s beauty in plainly speaking without metaphors and without flowery imagery. I just wanted to have fun.”
Vagabon wrote this album in isolation in a village in Germany, and enlisted the help of producer Rostam (Haim, Vampire Weekend). The songs are very highly polished with detailed and layered production that rewards a serious sound system, satisfying flourishes floating mid-level and low in the mix. Dancefloor sensibilities weave throughout, with You Know How underpinned by a pulsating beat. The highlight is the skittering Do Your Worst, with a mid 00s sound expanding into a drum’n’bass-style beat.
It is an accomplished album but the production is more noticeable than the tunes, which are quite slight and verge on repetitive.
Sorry I Haven’t Called is released on 15th September 2023. For further information or to order the album visit Vagabon’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Do Your Worst here: