La Grande (pronounced in the way of the American West, without any hint of French inflection--''luh grand'') is a town just east of the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon where native Oregonian Laura Gibson found inspiration while writing the songs that would become her new album of the same name. Gibson describes La Grande as a place that ''people usually pass through on their way to somewhere else, but which contains a certain gravity, a curious energy.'' She's done more than her own fair share of traveling, playing over 200 shows in North America, Europe and Asia since the release of 2009's acclaimed Beasts of Seasons (Hush Records), and La Grande is, in part, an album about journeys and transitions. The energy of the title track kicks off the record with a battering ram beat, hitting the ground like a herd of galloping horses. With the Tropicalia pulse, dirt-kicking distortion, whimsical woodwinds and heart murmur hooks on 'Lion/Lamb,'' and rail-jumping rhythms, majestic melodies and beyond-the-grave broadcasting of ''The Rushing Dark,'' La Grande plays like an imaginary film score. It's an album about strength and confidence--about the tension between wildness and domesticity and the courage required to embark upon either path, about asserting one's will rather than submitting -- and it's a significant departure from Beasts' subtle meditations on frailty.