Beasts of Seasons

Beasts of Seasons

by Laura Gibson
     
 

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There are a lot of superficial similarities between Laura Gibson and Laura Veirs -- besides sharing a given name, the pair are both artful and poetic singer/songwriters rooted in the Portland, OR, scene, both released albums in 2009 that were overseen by producer/drummer Tucker Martine, and both are NPR darlings. That's pretty much where the comparisons end, though.

Overview

There are a lot of superficial similarities between Laura Gibson and Laura Veirs -- besides sharing a given name, the pair are both artful and poetic singer/songwriters rooted in the Portland, OR, scene, both released albums in 2009 that were overseen by producer/drummer Tucker Martine, and both are NPR darlings. That's pretty much where the comparisons end, though. While Veirs' contemporaneous recording, July Flame, is a scaled-down acoustic-based affair, Beasts of Seasons is the sonic equivalent of tumbleweeds blowing through a ghost town -- or more accurately, across a cemetery; these meditations on mortality were actually written by Gibson in a room that overlooked a graveyard. Between its spare production approach, Gibson's agreeably dusty delivery, and the gloomy subject matter, Beasts of Seasons makes even the relatively low-key July Flame seem like a nonstop dance party. Gibson leaves no uncertainties hovering in the air about her thematic intentions here, crooning "If these bare walls could sing, they would sing us a funeral song" on the appropriately titled "Funeral Song," and filling many of the tunes with sharply observed, creatively deployed observations about humanity's losing battle against eternity. She brings just as much concision and power to the songs by way of her singing; Gibson's voice is a warm, husky burr, as she picks up each word and positions it just right before popping it out in a puff of sweet smoke. The way she sings "heavy in my chest" on "Sleeper," for instance, could serve as a model for the hidden punctuation vital to poetic phrasing. At one point, the sessions for Beasts of Seasons were apparently interrupted by a street parade outside, which Martine captured and dropped into a couple of carefully chosen spots, like the end of "Sweet Deception," where the words "learn to be alone" fade into the sounds of a frolicking group of party-goers, bringing to mind a New Orleans funeral procession that mixes sadness and celebration in equal amounts.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2009
Label:
Hush Records
UPC:
0884501065870
catalogNumber:
86
Rank:
56819

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Laura Gibson   Primary Artist,Banjo,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Bells,Guitar (Nylon String)
Eyvind Kang   Viola
Paul Brainard   Pedal Steel Guitar
Danny Stein   Vocals
Nate Query   Upright Bass,Standup Bass
Laura Veirs   Vocals,Background Vocals
Adam Selzer   Electric Guitar
Rachel Blumberg   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Jason Leonard   Percussion,Human Whistle,Vibes
Cory Gray   Piano,Trumpet,Pump Organ,Marxophone
Lisa Molinaro   Viola
Dave Depper   Electric Guitar,Guitar Feedback
Danny Seim   Vocals,Background Vocals
Toussaint Perrault   Trombone
Adam Zelzer   Electric Guitar
Micah Rabwin   Saw
Shelly Short   Vocals,Background Vocals
Scott Magee   Bass Clarinet
Sean Ogilvie   Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Tucker Martine   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Jason Leonard   Whistle
Laura Gibson   Composer

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