There was only one album that all three NPR Music producers agreed on for their top 10 list: Laura Gibson’s Beasts of Seasons. Here’s to the incredible staying power of a quiet record released in February. Get your copy here!
(#4) A slow-motion and passionate record, Beasts of Seasons asks a good deal from the listener. It takes time to dive into the world created by Laura Gibson and her collaborators, who include producer Tucker Martine and multi-instrumentalist Cory Gray. There’s a sad, ghostly tension in many of her songs; a languid beauty that feels as close to meditation as I may ever reach. I put this record in the same category as star-gazing. – Bob Boilen
(#5) Beasts of Seasons opens with a creeping, slow bloom of feedback and static. If it’s the sonic equivalent of darkness and what may be lurking there, then Laura Gibson‘s fragile voice and plaintively strummed guitar soon emerge as a flicker of light. It’s a mesmerizing contrast, as the curtain rises for Gibson’s arresting meditations on life and death. Producer Tucker Martine flawlessly executes this balancing act, pairing the beautiful with the gloomy to create a mysterious world of curiosities. – Robin Hilton
(#8) Laura Gibson seems to sing down into her own lungs, so quiet and delicate is her singing voice, but Beasts of Seasons isn’t as unassuming as it might seem at first. Split into two sides — marked “Communion Songs” and “Funeral Songs” — the album understandably divides its time between grieving and rejoicing, but it never radically deviates from elegant, impeccably arranged uneasiness. For all its muted grace, Beasts of Seasons isn’t afraid to pack a wallop into a whisper, as in “Where Have All Your Good Words Gone,” in which Gibson gently twists the knife: “Do you wish you were an honest man? Do you wish you were a better man?” – Stephen Thompson