words by Angus Dawson
It’s raining here in Perth (rare, trust me) so I’m sitting on my porch trying to get into a London-y mood while listening to Lapsley’s debut album, Long Way Home. Holly Fletcher is a 19 year old Liverpool native (hence the rain/porch thing). With a couple of EP’s under her belt already, the album was widely anticipated, and very well received. It doesn’t sound like an album made by a teen, it’s a well-rounded, mature and complex work of art that needs a few full length listens to really submerge yourself within it’s melancholy, reflective depths.
Her voice and insanely talented songwriting aside, the album is self-produced, which is some achievement because its incredibly tasteful and clever. The marriage of acoustic instrumentation and electronic production is seamless and the scope is huge yet still pleasantly cohesive. Tunes like ‘Painter’ and ‘Station’ are understated, minimal dreams that move over to the Motown-esque stylings of ‘Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me)’ and then to pop gems like ‘Hurt Me’ and ‘Love Is Blind’ with the rest slotting somewhere beautifully in between.
Her technical ability does wonders for adding interest to the record. The re-pitching and formatting of her voice on tracks like ‘Station’ has left more than a few people confused. It’s a formidable force when good songs meet a talented artist tied together by intelligent and original production, but when one person is responsible for all three, hats off to them.
The winner on this album for me is track four, ‘Cliff’. Triple J have recently put it on rotation and with good reason, what a song. Its driving four to floor beat, spacey Kalimba and the use of completely dry vocals against absolutely reverb drenched backing vocals, something that really drew me in because of the space that creates. It’s the perfect ambassador for Long Way Home, it features all the best parts of Lapsley’s sound in four and a half minutes of bliss.
Often I find myself contemplating an artists longevity in this flooded musical world we live in, how long someone will be around for and whether there’ll be a market for it. I have no doubt in that respect for Lapsley, if she keeps making albums like these, she’ll be around for a while yet. Picture the love child of James Blake’s production and Adele’s songwriting……but way better. She was also just announced on this year’s Splendour in the Grass line up, definitely pencil her into your schedule.
Long Way Home is available now through XL Recordings