10 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nearly a year to the day after her New York apartment—containing instruments, keepsakes, and years of lyrics—burned to the ground, indie singer/songwriter Laura Gibson returns with her fourth album. Rustic but poised, delicate but quietly resilient, Empire Builder is like Feist on a lonely road trip through a night that never seems to end. Paradoxically, the softer Gibson’s grip is, the tighter her hold, whether it’s the hushed heartbeat of “Empire Builder” (“We are not alone and we are more alone than we’ve ever been”) or the elusive, bewitching “The Search for Dark Lake.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nearly a year to the day after her New York apartment—containing instruments, keepsakes, and years of lyrics—burned to the ground, indie singer/songwriter Laura Gibson returns with her fourth album. Rustic but poised, delicate but quietly resilient, Empire Builder is like Feist on a lonely road trip through a night that never seems to end. Paradoxically, the softer Gibson’s grip is, the tighter her hold, whether it’s the hushed heartbeat of “Empire Builder” (“We are not alone and we are more alone than we’ve ever been”) or the elusive, bewitching “The Search for Dark Lake.”

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Ratings and Reviews

4.1 out of 5
65 Ratings

65 Ratings

Ethan Benatan ,

Oh. That’s what my heart sounds like. Thank you.

Laura Gibson was one of my favorite artists before this album, and she takes takes it up several levels with Empire Builder. She dives in deep to love and loss, identity and inquiry, letting go and holding on. Her lyrics are poetic, raw, real, and utterly revealing, but never trite. Like Whitman she celebrates her own contradictions, inviting us to investigate the mysteries of our own complexity and confusion.

The album sounds great, too. Gibson’s hallmark vocals run from soaringly beautiful to viscerally powerful, returning most frequently to her intimate and vulnerable home base. Her phrasing adds complexity and emphasizes patterns of sound and meaning that layer to evoke the full catastrophe of life deeply experienced. Dan Hunt’s percussion roots the album, shaping sounds and rhythms to grab your heartbeat like a thundering train (exactly that way, on the title track). Dave Depper’s guitar is rich and amazingly varied to expand the mood, and the backup vocals and effective use of strings give great depth to the sound. Every part of the album is done with great care and precision.

This is an album of questions, sometimes of acceptance and often of resolve, but rarely of resolution. If you want easy answers it might not be for you, but if you are looking for company on your journey then listen to this album. Listen to it loud, listen to it repeatedly, give it to friends.

JoëlëoJ ,

Absolutely blissful

She sounds like a cross between Feist and Regina Spektor, both ladies being incredibly talented. This album is awesome.

Inspiring novelist ,

Don't listen to the negative reviews.

Some of the reviews are negative mostly because this album isn't their type of music preference. I have listened to full versions for three of the songs on this album, and they are incredible.
When I listen to this album, I think of my happy place, walking through a peaceful meadow, and sitting next to a warm fire on a starry night.

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