Laura Gibson – La Grande
Laura Gibson’s previous album, Beasts of Seasons, was an atmospheric affair. It was dense. Thick. Misty. It dragged you in and you got lost in it. It was a stayer. But she needed to develop. Beasts of Seasons 2 would not have had the same impact. With La Grande she’s definitely moved on. Nowhere is this more evident than with the first track. The title track. Immediately, there is more instrumentation. There’s a beat. Sure, the lyrics are mildly disturbing, but it’s warmer. It welcomes you in. The same goes for other tracks. ‘Skin, Warming Skin’ has a creepier theme, but with a fuller sound than Beasts. ‘The Rushing Dark’ is just plain creepy. But it’s not all good news. Maybe Laura got a little lost in the mist. Two of the tracks, ‘Lion/Lamb’ and ‘Red Moon’, have a syncopated, slightly latin feel that obscures the song as a whole. In ‘The Fire’ various pots and pans get banged around in a campfire collective sort of way. ‘Crow/Swallow’ sounds like an outtake from Beasts of Seasons. The phrasing is exactly the same. It’s lovely, but, wait, hadn’t she moved on? What was really rewarding about Beasts was it coherence. By contrast, while La Grande has plenty of lovely moments, it doesn’t entirely come together. It’s a place worth visiting, but one that’s a little more difficult to get lost in than others she has created. And that means you’re not likely to stay there for quite so long.