Review: Laura Gibson – Goners

Laura Gibson is an acclaimed singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Portland, Oregon. For her fifth album, Goners, Gibson has produced a rich, dark and mysterious collection of songs around the theme of grief and the intimacy of shared loss which, despite the harrowing and unsettling subject matter, manages to create a sense of optimism and renewed hope. For many of the songs, she has set aside her trusty guitars in favour of piano and Wurlitzer and created a series of bold and imaginative soundscapes, peppered with multi-tracked vocals and flourishes of strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion and ambient samples and loops. This is Gibson’s first album since completing a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and these new songs provide a masterclass in powerful, poetic and enigmatic storytelling, saturated in vivid and dream-like imagery. As Gibson herself has said: “I wanted to aim for wildness in my lyrics, not perfection.” The haunting and, at times, traumatic, narratives are offset cleverly by the caress of Laura Gibson’s intimate, graceful and feathery vocals.

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Review: Karine Polwart – Laws Of Motion

For her seventh solo album, Laws Of Motion, Karine Polwart has produced another captivating and absorbing combination of music, storytelling and insightful commentary on a wide range of universal themes and issues. Assisted by regular collaborators, Inge Thomson on accordion, percussion and vocals and brother Steven Polwart on guitar, piano, percussion and backing vocals, Karine Polwart has delivered a collection of songs of rare excellence, with a series of imaginative, ambient soundscapes providing the backdrop to her poetic, evocative and uncompromising lyrics.

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Review: Carla J. Easton – Impossible Stuff

Carla J. Easton is a singer-songwriter from Glasgow. Having released one album with all-girl band TeenCanteen and another under the alias of Ette, both to critical acclaim, the release of Easton’s first solo album under her own name has been eagerly awaited. Largely written and recorded in Canada, and co-produced by the distinguished Howard Bilerman (who has worked with artists of the stature of Arcade Fire and Leonard Cohen), Impossible Stuff has been a labour of love for Carla J. Easton. The result is a veritable feast of exuberant and intelligent indie-pop songs, overflowing with killer hooks and bold, imaginative and multi-textured arrangements, Easton’s unique take on a Spector-esque ‘Wall of Sound’, if you will. The sheer quality and class of the songs is maintained throughout the album and each one is a potential single.

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Review: James Brown Is Annie Album Launch

James Brown Is Annie, those Edinburgh-based purveyors of smooth, soulful and slick funk, played Edinburgh’s Rose Theatre Basement on 15th September, as part of a UK tour to launch their second album, James Brown Is Annie II. James Brown Is Annie’s new album was produced by the legendary Hamish Stuart (a mainstay of the Average White Band (AWB) and, later, the Paul McCartney Band), which is very fitting, given that the band are heavily influenced by AWB, with traces also of other seventies legends, particularly Steely Dan and Little Feat.

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Review: I Said Yes To Everything, Fringe 2018

Singer-songwriter Wrenne hails from Utah and currently lives in rural Leicestershire. She has many strings to her bow, with her website describing her as “Utah Child. UK Artist. Electronic Truth-catcher. Post-Mormon-Disney-Punk. Video-maker. Storyteller. Collaborator. Runner. Mother.” She brought all of these qualities, and more, to I Said Yes To Everything, her mesmerising one-woman show, which is being performed daily throughout this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. This multimedia performance was truly an immersive experience and a visual and sonic treat.

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