A picturesque town in northeast Oregon, La Grande was named by a French settler in honour of its natural beauty, and is where Laura Gibson found inspiration for her latest album. She describes it as being in possession of 'a certain gravity, a curious energy' – something equally applicable to the record itself, which builds on the sparse, haunting folk of 2009's, Beasts Of Seasons and winds up certainly stranger but no less engaging for it. Concerned with the notion of travel and journeys, wildness and domesticity, the necessity of moving forward and maintaining courage, it is a far cry from the familial and existential themes that coloured her previous work. A few gentle, finger-picked ballads are present – and they are as well-realised and effective as ever – but the album spreads itself over a broader instrumental canvas than you might expect. The title-track boasts a swaggering, percussive backbone furnished with all manner of dusty frontier sounds, while Lion/Lamb shuffles forth, only loosely anchored by Gibson's acoustic guitar shapes. And then there is her voice, which has always been pretty, in a vintage, timeless kind of way. On songs like The Rushing Dark, Time Is Not and Feather Lungs, they add to the record a wonderful old scratched-vinyl quality. It is easy, of course, to throw such adjectives around when faced with something as singularly lovely as Gibson's voice, but this gem of a long-player – both sleepy and steely, mystical yet rooted in very real and universal themes – deserves all the plaudits that will hopefully meet its release.
On The Shelf
Our pick of the NOT-TO-BE-MISSED books
Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humour, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of recent history. Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key which belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Centre on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.
A Walk Across The Sun
by Corban Addison
When a tsunami rages through their coastal town in India, 17-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her 15-year-old sister Sita are left orphaned and homeless. As they struggle to reach the safe haven of the convent where they attend school, they are abducted by human traffickers and thrust into a hidden world of violence and illicit commerce, where the most valuable prize is innocence of a child. Halfway across the world, in Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke faces his own personal and professional crises. Haunted by the tragic death of his infant daughter and estranged from his wife, he makes the fateful decision to pursue a pro bono sabbatical in India with an NGO that prosecutes the subcontinent's human traffickers. In Mumbai, his conscience awakens as he sees firsthand horrors of the trade and the corrupt judicial system that fosters it. When he learns the fate of Ahalya and Sita, Clarke makes it his personal mission to rescue them, setting the stage for a deadly showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals. Spanning three continents and two cultures, A Walk Across The Sun chronicles an unforgettable journey through the underworld of modern slavery and into the darkest and most resilient-corners of the human heart.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss PS3
Like the trilogy of Uncharted games on the PlayStation 3, Golden Abyss is a beautiful and theatrical action-adventure title with a smattering of platforming and puzzle-solving. It's a completely new story, set some time before the first in the series: Drake's Fortune. Nate's day starts out like any other, with him strolling in the South American rainforest with old pal and mercenary Jason Dante trying to solve a 400-year-old mystery at some ruins. Then everything goes horribly wrong as Nate meets the crazy General Guerro, who Dante is working for. Luckily, Dante's friend Marisa Chase is on hand to help spice things up. Her grandfather, who has mysteriously vanished, originally discovered the ruins and holds the key to solving the mystery. Before long, more plot twists ensue and Nate goes off to find an old friend to help him figure it all out, save the girl, and kill many people. Golden Abyss does a superb job of shrinking Uncharted down to portable dimensions while retaining its visual splendour. The majestic mountainous setting looks stunning, as do the character models. Your first encounter with the enemy is a stealthy one, as you tap on a bad guy at the top of a cliff to reach up and throw him off. Subsequent hand-to-hand battles kick off in much the same way if you can approach unseen. Once enemies start shooting, it's time to fight fire with guns. The game strikes a nice balance, with battles that are fast-paced enough to get the adrenaline pumping while short enough never to get boring.
MAG's Trilogy Pick of the Week
Golmaal: Fun Unlimited (2006)
Madhav Singh Ghai along with two ex-college slackers, Gopal and Lucky, team up with college student, Laxman, to extort money from students as well as sell question papers in advance. The four are also on the run from a garage owner to whom they owe money. While on the run one day, they come across a spacious bungalow occupied by a blind couple, Somnath and Mangala. They overhear that their grandson is to return from New York, and decide to con the couple and live in the bungalow in style. Laxman becomes the grandson, Sameer, while Gopal lends his voice to fool the couple. The four find that they have an attractive neighbour, Nirali and each of them comically propose their love to her. To complicate matters, a gangster is interested in a wooden sealed box in Somnath's house. Hilarious chaos prevails when the hapless foursome find out that Somnath is already aware of them.
Golmaal Returns (2008)
Obsessed with day-time TV soaps, Ekta Santoshi starts suspecting her husband, Gopal, of having an affair with an unknown woman. Not satisfied with his explanations, she decides to investigate, setting off a chain of hilarious events. These involve her dumb brother/hair-stylist, Lucky, her sister-in-law, Esha, who loves ACP Madhav Singh Ghai and two individuals both named Anthony Gonsalves amongst many others that result in a hapless Gopal's arrest for the homicide of his co-worker, Subodh Mehra.
Golmaal 3 (2010)
Madhav, Laxman and Lucky re-locate to Goa, and not only get into verbal and physical confrontations with Gopal and Laxman, but also ruin their jet-ski and fireworks businesses. Feeling threatened, they inform their bus-driver father, Pritam, who goes to confront Gopal and Laxman, and finds out that their mother, Geeta, is his long-lost love. Gopal's girlfriend, Daboo, overhears their conversation, and gets them dramatically married – just in time as Pritam is heavily in debt and is about to be evicted by goons led by Raghav. Chaos and violent confrontations will become the order when he takes his children to live with Geeta, and the newly married couple may conclude that divorce may be the only solution to end their respective children's disputes.
Top Five Releases This Week
NFL Blitz (PS3)
Choplifter HD (Xbox 360)
ZEN Pinball 3D (3DS)
Boom Puzzle (iOS)
Black Veil Brides – 'Fallen Angels'
Gabrielle Alpin – 'Home Again EP'
Nicola Roberts – Yo-Yo'
Tribes – 'When We Were Children'
Various Cruelties – 'Great Unknown'
Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George
Gideon's Corpse by Douglas Preston
Lothaire by Kresley Cole
A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison
The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn