When I call Gabriella Cohen, it’s days into her first major American tour and hours after wrapping a show at a New York club. Our conversation begins with her apologies; she needs to grab a coffee. Then, drink procured, we dig in.
It was only three years ago that The Furrs, the brainchild of Cohen and Jim Griffin, released their first song, “Get on Your Horse.” The band, though prolific critical favorites, didn’t catch on much outside their native Australia. When Cohen opted to go solo, her music took a turn toward the simple, which is saying something considering The Furrs’ raw production.
“It’s a natural progression. There wasn’t like a moment when I said, ‘Oh, I’d better change.’ I think it should happen naturally,” she says. “Plus, you get a bit tired of jumping up and down all the time on stage.”
On her first LP, the aptly titled Full Closure and No Details, Cohen embraces narcotic rock. Sleepy and disconnected, Cohen’s Velvet Underground and Leonard Cohen influences are abundant. The album opens with the song “Beaches,” a dirty take on folk complete with tambourine. Its lyrics, such as “No one ever loved you like I do,” suggest some kind of heartbreak as inspiration; Cohen insists otherwise.
“It’s completely the opposite, but I was just telling it like it is,” she says. “It’s the opposite of a breakup, for sure.”
I ask in what sense. “In that sense,” she responds.
This week Cohen plays at The Independent in San Francisco, a city where she’s never performed, though she’s “always wanted to.”
“I’m just dying to be there,” she says, with genuine excitement creeping into her voice. “It’s an absolute honor.”
The coma-rock aesthetic of the album might suggest a more chill vibe during her set, but Cohen isn’t sure what kind of atmosphere fans should anticipate.
“They should expect to have a good time or relax; I don’t know. You never know. Couldn’t tell you,” she laughs.
Throughout our conversation, not once do I detect that Cohen is withholding information or balking at questions. Instead, it appears she operates as her album title would suggest: no details.