"Here comes the end, of the future/If we're already goners, why wait any longer," wonders Laura Gibson on the title track of her fifth studio long player, the versatile and bittersweet Goners. The Oregon-based singer/songwriter has always stared long and hard into the darkness, pulling out what light she can find, and Goners is no different. With grief as the through-line, the ten-track set looks to salvage what it can from the process, focusing not just on the internal struggles, but on the ways that that grief affects others caught in its torpid murmurations -- "Love is a songbird with a sickle claw," sings Gibson on the sparse but swirling "Slow Joke Grin." Steeped in the dusty and cinematic Americana-chamber pop that has become her forte over the years, and backed by a seasoned crew of Pacific Northwest vets -- Dave Depper (Death Cab for Cutie), Dan Hunt (Neko Case), and Nate Query (the Decemberists) -- Goners is a lushly arranged affair that never feels ostentatious, and almost always veers between deeply moving and quietly profound.
by James Christopher Monger