Portland musician Laura Gibson’s new album revisits the 90s heyday of tortured female singer-songwriters. Back then, we used to listen to Jewel and Alanis on repeat, rubbing vicariously against the edges of their heartbreak, mainly because we hadn’t yet experienced any of our own. But now – even with the haunting composition – all that painful introspection feels a bit laboured and, well, self-indulgent.
‘Empire Builder’ is Gibson’s first effort since her critically acclaimed 2012 album ‘La Grande’, and, as you might expect from a musician who took an extended break to study creative writing, this record has a searching, narrative thrust. The songs are pretty enough, and Gibson’s voice – clear and delicate with that sad, sexy crackle – is certainly lovely listening. But, aside from the fun, clever ‘No Kids’, the tracks are a little atmospherically repetitive. It’s the kind of music you might play at a low-key dinner party to signal the evening is winding down. And, ultimately, those slow, melancholic melodies and the mournful string sections leave one longing for something more upbeat.
Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines
As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.
Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.
If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.
It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.