Låpsley — Through Water (20 March 2020)
★⊗ „Through Water“ je bezpochyby nejúspěšnější práce od Låpsley, jaká byla doposud prezentována a zaznamenána během jejího přechodu k mladému ženství. S Låpsley jako hlavní producentkou a skladatelkou album deseti písní (zredukovaných z více než sta) zrcadlí její nově objevenou sebedůvěru, prozření a sebevědomí jakožto umělkyně, dokumentující množství osobních zkušeností a příběhů o nadcházející éře postavených na tématickém základě a pozadí vody, podnebí, počasí a elementů všude kolem nás.
Låpsley: Through Water review — intensely poetic and powerful.
Birth name: Holly Lapsley Fletcher
Born: 7 August 1996, York, England
Origin: Southport, Merseyside, England
Genres: Art pop, soul, ambient, alternative R&B
Album release: 20 March 2020
Record Label: XL Recordings
01. Through Water 3:01
02. My Love Was Like the Rain 4:13
03. First 3:21
04. Ligne 3 4:02
05. Our Love is a Garden 3:24
06. Leeds Liverpool Canal 1:47
07. Sadness is a Shade of Blue 3:38
08. Womxn 3:55
09. Bonfire 3:55
10. Speaking of the End 3:09
℗ 2020 Her Own Recordings under exclusive license to XL Recordings Limited.
★Ψ★ “My attitude to writing this album was that I needed to be honest about situations and honest with myself,” Holly Lapsley Fletcher tells Apple Music. “I write and produce songs within about two days, so it’s quite instant. I’ll go into the studio and write about whatever happens that week and then leave it. It’s very therapeutic.” Four years on from a debut album that won her fans including Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, the Liverpudlian singer~songwriter, producer and self~proclaimed “music nerd” relates the pain of a breakup and weaves the beauty of nature into the lyrics on an intoxicating second album. The production is also bigger and bolder here, inspired by ’80s indie, electronica — and on the luminous standout “Womxn”, even disco. “After Long Way Home, I took a year off,” she says. “I needed to work on my mental health and take time off from touring. I wasn’t able to write at that point, and then as soon as I felt like I was finding myself again, I felt way more in control. I came straight into the industry at 17 and then was expected to write a debut album — whereas this time, it’s me discovering who I am.” Below, Låpsley guides us through that discovery track by track.
★Ψ★ “I met with my dad the week that I wrote this song. He’s one of the world leaders in sustainable development, and works in climate change and water. I went upstairs to the bathroom in XL [Recordings, her record label], which is by the studio, and just left the tap running and pressed voice note and I read out a speech my dad has given. Then I created this track, so the album opens with my dad’s words. I think he’s my biggest fan.”
My Love Was Like the Rain
★Ψ★ “That came together super quickly. I never really write at such a fast tempo, and I just remember shoving loads of like Robyn tracks on, and thinking, ‘I want to make a song that has this kind of energy!’ but then I gravitated towards darker chords.”
★Ψ★ “I love Drake and I love lots of Afrobeats, so I guess there’s an influence here. I wanted to create a song that, production~wise, sat more in that space. The song’s basically about being obsessed with someone and putting them on a pedestal even if they don't feel the same way back — almost like worship.”
★Ψ★ “I lived in Montpellier for two months, which is where my ex~boyfriend lives. Ligne 3 was the tram line between where we lived and where his work was. That was at the start of a year that I took off, so I wasn’t really doing anything, and I wasn’t well, so I’d just go out and wander around the city for two months. It just sums up the end of that relationship and that place. It was pretty lonely.”
Our Love Is a Garden
★Ψ★ “My favourite track on the album. I was obsessed by the ’80s, with [record label] 4AD acts, bands like Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil, so I wanted to have something that referenced that point in the decade. It’s about trying to make a relationship work, and there’s a sadness, but obviously beautiful references to gardens too.”
Leeds Liverpool Canal
★Ψ★ “The canal has always been a place that’s very close to our family, whether that’s the men in our family walking down on their own, working out mental health problems or fishing with my dad. Now my dad works in water, so there’s just this massive link to that place, so this instrumental is about home.”
Sadness Is a Shade of Blue
★Ψ★ “I wanted to write a pop song about depression and how I feel like we’re all responsible for our own health and trying to improve things in our own lives. I was getting frustrated that I was doing stuff to help my mental health and my ex wasn’t doing anything to help his — and I wanted to write a pop song that was real.”
★Ψ★ “This was the first track that I wrote for the record when I was in a pretty bad place. I took the demo in with Pete O’Grady [aka UK producer Joy Orbison], and the additional production just took it to the next level. By releasing it as a single, I wanted to show people how much I’ve changed and how that comes from a place of acceptance.”
★Ψ★ “This song is about being with someone with a really short temper. Like, this person finds it very difficult to change and I feel like I’m the one who has to change the way that I speak around him to accommodate him, so it’s about that.”
Speaking of the End
★Ψ★ “I worked with [Adele and Florence + the Machine collaborator] Eg White on this. I just went into his studio and was like, ‘Oh you’ve got a piano!’ It’s very rare that someone actually has a piano in the studio, so then the intention was to write a song and make it full~sounding. That is the original vocal first take, and the lyrics are about the end of one relationship and the start of another, and also the end of childhood and the start of adulthood. It’s kind of dark and light at the same time.”
Ben Beaumont~Thomas | Fri 20 Mar 2020 09.30 GMT | Score: ★★★★
★ Låpsley’s second album is stripped of collaborators, but its clean aesthetic highlights the scars of real experience.
★ On her 2016 debut, Liverpudlian electronic pop singer Låpsley worked with a brains trust of songwriters and producers to try her hand at chart anthems, trip~hop and — in the joyful Operator — a disco track that ruled festival season. For her second album, she seems to have brushed away the lint left by an excess of collaborators, instead writing and producing everything herself with input from a sole engineer, and honing in on a singular, clean aesthetic.
★ It opens with a reflection on the climate crisis, as she communes with glass, oil and water. This mindful moment seems to trigger an interrogation of the end of a relationship through the lens of the natural world, with trials of love cast as fires, avalanches, flowers and that ever~present water, with its inferred potential for nurture or drowning. Occasionally, the metaphors veer into cliche — “love we didn’t buy evergreen” — but even the more familiar images are given renewed power by her voice, which carries the laugh lines and furrowed wrinkles of lived experience.
★ Aside from two or three bits of filler, these are outstanding songs. First is like a reggaeton track cooled by a flash of rain, with an erotic charge to her eyelid~batting chorus line, “be my teacher, be my saviour” — but is she just telling her lover what they want to hear? Her delivery sustains the mystery. The brilliant singles Womxn and My Love Was Like the Rain also have a subtle Latin touch, while Speaking of the End is a supremely powerful piano ballad about moving on, a real Adele~grade tearjerker but played with the pointillist quality of Ryuichi Sakamoto. Throughout, she returns to a technique she used on 2014 breakout track Station (a song acknowledged by Billie Eilish as the main influence on Ocean Eyes), where she subtly pitches her voice down to an androgynous tenor, done most effectively here on breakup ballad Ligne 3. Opening with a nod to Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work, she sets up a duet between her natural and pitched~down voices. Are these voices crowding her head, or are they the rueful thoughts of now~departed lovers filtering across to one another? It is the intensely poetic high of an often exceptional record.
REVIEWER: JENESSA WILLIAMS | Score: ★★★★½
By Emily McDermott
Photography Brian Higbee, Published May 11, 2016
★ Long Way Home (4 March 2016)
★ Through Water (20 March 2020)