Albums

Long Way Home by Låpsley

Long Way Home by Låpsley 20th April 2016Leave a comment
Long Way Home by Låpsley

One of the first thoughts that came to me when I listened to Låpsley’s first album, “Long Way Home”, was just how ahead of her years she sounds. She has the air of an artist who has been around for over twenty years or more, when in fact she herself is less than that at the time of writing. At the age of just nineteen, she has already laid the first stones of what will hopefully be a very long, and no-doubt will be a very successful, career.

My first taste of her music was from her 2015 E.P. Understudy and it was the opening song “Falling Short”, which was the only song from that E.P. to feature on “Long Way Home”, that immediately got me hooked on her minimalist arrangements and stunning voice.

I can honestly say that she is an artist who I could pick out of a thousand, identifying her with confidence based on her voice alone. She is one of those singers whose voice you simply can not forgot once you’ve heard it.

Room by room

The opening song “Heartless” serves as a welcoming, calm introduction to this interesting, boundary-pushing album, “Long Way Home”. “Heartless”, like many of this album’s songs, is centred around a calm piano harmony with Låpsley’s voice up front. This isn’t, however, a run-of-the-mill piano ballad as it contains, as does a lot of the album, some really effective uses of odd samples and interesting production techniques.

“Hurt Me”, the album’s next song, opens with a synthesized staccato melody, which really drove me into the album and introduced me to the kinds of sounds that I just wasn’t expecting until now. Even at the end of the song there are odd little samples that work perfectly in a really weird kind of way. By now I knew that Låpsley was an artist not only ahead of her own years, but that of many of her contemporaries too.

I’m not going to mention every song, as I’d like you to find out for yourself, but I do just want to say something about the third song “Falling Short”, the video for which I have included at the end. The lyrics in this song are some of the most cryptic for me. The lyrics seem extremely personal and the way that she delivers them serves to enhance that feeling. In all honesty it was only as I write this now that I have actually gone and looked at the actually songs lyrics as a whole. This song’s lyrics – along with the rest of the album’s – can be enjoyed through simply listening to them being sang, without any real thought into what they mean. Looking deeper into those meanings is like peeling back the onion layers of this complex, compelling artist.

One month till February
Keep on holdin’ on
And I know it’s short
And I know it’s short

And it’s times like these
And it’s days like these
And it’s times like these
And it’s days like

It’s been a long time comin’
But I’m falling short
It’s been a long time comin’
But I’m falling short

Falling Short from Long Way Home

As the album approaches its half -way point with the fifth song, “Operator (He doesn’t call me)”, the album’s sound took an up-tempo turn. This song’s story centres around a woman whose boyfriend doesn’t call her. Instead she finds herself in contact more with the phone operator, and so considers falling in love with the operator instead. It’s a fun song with it’s routes in one of the most boring aspects of life – being kept on hold. Låpsley seems to have the ability to find little nuggets of inspiration in unlikely places.

He doesn’t call me so put me through operator
Maybe I’ll leave him and fall in love with you operator
My baby doesn’t call me so put me through operator
So tell me should I leave him and fall in love with you operator

Operator (He doesn’t call me) from Long Way Home

One of my favourite songs on “Long Way Home” is called “Station”. It is one of the most minimal as I remember that has everything that I love in her music – her voice sang with shifted pitches, layered to hamonize with each other; great sound effect samples used in refreshing ways – notable one which sounds like a pitch-shifted dog woof; minimal instruments that make her voice almost acapella. “Station” is beautifully haunting and would serve as a perfect introduction if one hadn’t ever heard Låpsley’s music before.

The last but one song, “Leap”, reminds me of something from Radiohead’s Amnesiac album, with beautiful echoing synth sounds with a basey, driving beat – not fast – just driving.

Lock the door behind you

Versatility and and a desire for experimentation – this is what Låpsley brings to her craft. I love as well how she doesn’t settle on a set of default samples across the album. Throughout it you will keep hearing new and unusual sounds that never feel disjointed or mish-mashed. I get the impression that she has toiled for hours and hours over the years, building up a unique sensibility for how to put these sounds together in really interesting ways.

Something I’ve also noticed, listening closely whilst writing this review, is how much more I’m hearing around the main songs that I don’t remember hearing before – the odd sample or harmonisations. This album really is a gift that keeps on giving.

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