Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Listen: Laura Gibson - "The Cause"

A lot has changed in singer/songwriter Laura Gibson's life since the release of previous record La Grande nearly four years ago. Most notably Gibson's cross-country move from Portland to New York City by train to pursue a degree in fiction writing. It's the sort of stuff records are inspired by and luckily for us, it was. Her new record Empire Builder, though recorded with Portland friends Dave Tepper, Dan Hunt, Peter Broderick, and co-producer John Askew, draws more on the changes Gibson has made in the life (the album's title being the than she took from Portland to Chicago on the first leg of her trip) than the place it was recorded.

Considering her self-afflicted uprooting to busier, more boisterous environs, "The Cause" remains as peaceful as Gibson's past efforts. And yet beneath that surface calm Gibson's lyrics are more agitated than Gibson's calm delivery would have you believe.  Gibson tackes both love and self-sacrifice in equal measure - tossing and turning between the idea of belonging to the self versus serving others in a way that's properly thrilling. "You belong to the cause, you belong to us" Laura Gibson sings and it often feels like a reminder, as she balances "selfish" desires with that intimate self-knowledge. Gibson manages to marry the philosophical/psychological to a cohesive narrative in order to craft a complex but enjoyable feat of songwriting skill.

Laura Gibson's forthcoming fourth album Empire Builder is out April 1st on Barsuk (US)/City Slang (EU/UK). Pre-order is available now.

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