Here we have the fifth full-length solo offering from Laura Gibson, a US singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Coquille, Oregon. Generally, she's said her songs on this album are all about "grief and love and the ways we share pain with each other". Expectations, therefore, are for a sorrowful melancholy and downbeat vibe. Far from it. There are a small number of overtly uplifting moments, such as the title track itself, but the songs that have no obviously optimistic handles don't necessarily feel immediately all about darkness and despair. Sure, there's a ton of melancholic introspection and reflection to be heard and experienced, but Gibson's melancholy is generally an ethereal one that's coloured with hope and warmth. Press blurb highlights the abstract, metaphorical lyrics on the album, which is explained by her assertion that she intended a "dream logic" to her penned verse. It's apposite, then, that her songs have been reified within a mesmerising sonic ether. The whole listening experience is a dreamy one.
While around half the tracks have acoustic guitar-centric instrumentations; others use piano and Wurlitzer. There's a little percussion here and there on a few of the tracks, as well as other components seamlessly brought into the mix, to enrich her sonic canvas with further emotional depths. Cue a number of collaborators, who've added strings; horn and woodwind arrangements; double bass; etc. And, although there's an ostensible minimalism to everything, the genuine depth resides in the produndity of emotions that Gibson's succeeded in conveying. She does this with utter, utter ease, with her beautifully expressive voice that weaves sublime melodies through her refined sense of songcraft. 'Goners' is sheer bliss to listen to.
Co-produced with engineer John Askew, with whom I gather she worked on her last album, 2016's 'Empire Builder', this is a very nice sounding record indeed. Gibson's voice and all instruments have been captured ever so wonderfully, and mixed into a hypnotic, ethereal whole. Hell, I even adore the cover to this album, with a stunning image by Latvian photographer Katrina Kepule (to be honest, I'm a cat guy through and through, so my ailurophilia shouldn't really permit me to admire a dog this much!)
So, then, 'Goners' comes highly recommended from me, and should delight those who revel in musical sincerity and emotionally profound works. There's certainly cathartic potential through the listening experience. This is music to captivate; in which to lose yourself to its natural sonic beauty and ethereally melancholic charms.
Review by Mark Holmes
26th October 2018
1) I Carry Water
3) Slow Joke Grin
10) I Don't Want Your Voice To Move Me
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"There's certainly cathartic potential through the listening experience. This is music to captivate; in which to lose yourself to its natural sonic beauty and ethereally melancholic charms."