Finally it’s here. Låpsley has finished her first full length record. As regular readers of this blog, you should be familiar with the name and the music you can expect. If not, you have either been fast asleep for the past one and a half years, or you have no interest in music. Holly Lapsley Fletcher is not yet 20 years old, but she’s managed to play pretty much every important showcase festival in the past year (Eurosonic, The Great Escape, Reeperbahn) and as much a fan of her as I was from the first time of hearing her voice and sound, I managed to miss her almost every time except for her appearance at Reeperbahn in Hamburg last year (to be honest, I still managed to miss her proper gig there, only seeing her perform for local radio NJoy on a bus).
The recipe hasn’t changed much from her early EPs to her debut album now. In fact several songs have found their way from early single or EP onto the album. But would you really turn away from the immensely intimate Falling Short, the fragile Painter (formerly known as Painter Valentine) or the haunting Station? Definitely not. These songs are still highlights. But now they sit next to the UK-radio friendly Love is Blind the minimalist beat driven Cliff or Hurt Me with a chorus so powerful it could make the sun rise in the middle of the night. Låpsley’s biggest strength stays the combination of cautious beats, piano, subtle production and her voice. It all comes together in such intimate songs. I am a sucker for whispered vocals and close-micing and this is what you will get.
Fletcher grew up in Southport, close to Liverpool and even though you might not hear a scouse accent in the vocals, her songs take me back there. The city is a hub for great music. And even though many will only think of the Beatles or indie music, when the city comes up there is a great electronic music scene as well. When I listen to Long Way Home I’m thinking of rainy nights and the city’s lights reflecting in puddles on cobbled roads. I get the lone feeling of looking across the Mersey, of standing at Formby beach looking into endless waves. Strolling through a foggy Sefton Park or the endless rows of houses in Wavertree. You won’t really understand the pulse of the city when you haven’t spent some time there. It’s restless, yet way more relaxed then a big city like London or Paris. Tell Me The Truth has the slightly swervy beat of the city. The whole city looks like its best days are over and the dominating sentiment might be a nostalgic desire but underneath it is so much love for all and everything. Låpsley makes me feel the same. Long Way Home is a little nostalgic, a little bit sad, a tad burdensome, but once you accept all that, there is so much beauty in it. Just beauty.