Album Review: Long Way Home – Låpsley

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British multi-instrumentalist Holly Lapsley Fletcher, aka Låpsley released her first full-length record earlier this month. After nearly two years being touted as an up-and-coming talent on the electro-pop scene, the singer-songwriter has finally surpassed that title and solidified herself as a talented artist with Long Way Home, an album that highlights her musical expertise. Despite having heard half of the album on previously released EPs and samplers, Long Way Home feels fresh, in part because of its seemingly effortless continuity. It’s easy to get lost in Fletcher’s ethereal lyrics and lush production. Her background in classical music translates to a calculated and mature beyond-her-years debut that absolutely stuns listeners.

A more recent single that appeared on the album’s sampler released in early 2016, “Love is Blind” is the quintessential electro-pop power ballad, brought to life by Fletcher’s intimate lyrics and a driving beat. The song, about a failing love, reaches its apex as Fletcher proclaims, “you never loved me anyway” over a chorus of voices.

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“Cliff” is one of six new tracks on the album; the track stands out because of its truly sparse and percussive production. Compared to much of the album, where Fletcher’s vocals are backed by significant instrumentation, this track’s complexity lies in its emptiness and signals the album’s variety and Låpsley’s command over multiple facets of her genre.

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Much of the album relies on a repetitive build and slow addition of instruments to craft a rich, ambient feel. Perhaps this is best articulated on “Painter”, a track that has been in various forms of re-release since 2015’s Station EP. The lyrics are a single repetitive stanza – “you can paint these wings and make me fly” – manipulated by Fletcher’s harmonies and accentuated by steady percussion. The recurring lyrics would be boring if not for a delicate countermelody that suggests a music box, an artful addition to the masterfully engineered soundscape.

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Other standout tracks include “Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me)”, a standard pop ballad reminiscent of Ella Eyre’s early work, and opening track “Heartless”, though the entire album is worth a listen. Låpsley has stunned with a mature, exciting debut album that is hopefully the precursor of an impressive career.

Image via grimygoods.com.