When you listen to La Grande, Laura Gibson’s third full length album, there is little surprise. Even if you haven’t heard of her, you will know two things upon first listen: a) she is from Portland and b) La Grande has come out on Barsuk Records – THE label for west coast low-fi melodies, washed out arrangements designed for foggy afternoons, and the soundtracks for a million indie movies about hipsters in (and out) of love. La Grande is fat with all of it.
Laura Gibson is a talented songwriter and if given a chance to shine likely an exceptional singer but the whole album feels restrained into a tight little genre-appropriate box. ‘The Rushing Dark’ is particularly gorgeous and ‘Skin, Warming Skin’ perfectly captures that blissful moment when desire transcends reason.
The biggest issue with La Grande isn’t that Gibson isn’t talented or a strong songwriter, because she is, the problem Is that La Grande sounds so much like everything else, leaving Gibson (and La Grande) almost entirely forgettable. The album leaves little to set Gibson apart from many of her counterparts.