This Single of the Week is “La Grande” from Portland folk singer Laura Gibson. “La Grande” is the first track off Gibson’s upcoming album of the same name. She found her inspiration for La Grande in a small Oregon town not far from her birthplace.
Her previous albums are comprised of soft acoustic and hypnotizing vocals, but Gibson goes in a decidedly different direction in La Grande. The tempo of her songs quicken considerably, but Gibson’s voice remarkably still retains its haunting quality. The ghostliness of her voice is accentuated by the eerie, Halloween-esque sounds in the background of “La Grande.” Gibson is able to get away with these additions because the song is rather upbeat, making the sound very original. Adding to the originality of “La Grande” is Gibson’s mastery of the guitar, pump organ, synthesizer, and marimba, all of which are present in the song.
Gibson’s voice is quite similar to her peer, Regina Spektor. Both have a gorgeous lilting quality in their voices that add to the ethereal beauty in their music. However, where Spektor tends to belt out lyrics, Gibson turns to a whispery vocal that leaves the listener in chills. Gibson’s voice also brings to mind Joanna Newsom. Both possess the wobbly folk voice that adds such charm to their songs. The fast flow of “La Grande” is reminiscent of The Decemberists as well. Their influence is evident, especially because they are featured throughout the album La Grande. It is very clear that Gibson felt countless influences in La Grande, such as country and jazz.
La Grande is set to be released on January 24th, and is filled with haunting melodies and plenty of featured up and coming artists. Don’t miss out on Gibson’s newest album that is the perfect solution to a cold winter afternoon in Baltimore.
– Rachel Schnalzer, Staff Writer