There has been a wave of British female electro-pop in the last couple of years and relative newcomer Låpsley’s début album, Long Way Home falls firmly in this bracket. Her version however is somewhat more experimental than her peers. It has gained the notice and approval of BBC Radio 1 who added her to their Sounds of 2016 list, an accolade that has previously featured the Rae Morris and Years & Years who have had great success in the last 12 months. So Låpsley it seems, it catching the attention of the right people in spite of being somewhat left of the mainstream.
Long Way Home is an interesting listen and I mean that literally, not in the traditional English respect of finding something that isn’t negative to say about it. Her music is slow, layered and textured and her quite frankly, pretty gospel-esque vocals flit from mournful to joyful at the drop of a hat. If I were to put a finer point on it, her music is not dissimilar to how I imagine Jess Glynne would sound on diazepam.
As with anything experimental, Låpsley pushes conventional musical boundaries, sometimes this is to the point of being questionable. Firstly, there are points where instruments sound like they are just barely in time and the effects on some of them are a little overcooked. There’s also the auto-tuning of her own vocal down to a baritone to back herself, great in principle but in reality the layering means ’s’ comes out sounding like ‘sh’ sung through a wet flannel. It makes the lyrics of Falling Short come out as Guesh you could shay itsh not to far to carry thish… This effect isn’t isolated to this track and my inner English teacher found it a little irritating!
Despite these little issues, there’s a wealth of great, catchy tunes such as the radio friendly, Motown inspired Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me) and the euphoric, bass driven Love is Blind with its catchy, soaring chorus Love is blind when the lights go up. It’s full of slow hypnotic beats which sit well with me. It’s not the sort of electro that is likely to find it’s way into clubs but I could imagine chilling to Låpsley in a trendy city bar over a couple of drinks.
Overall, I don’t think Long Way Home’s experimental nature will have masses of commercial value, but it is the sort of thing that could develop a cult following. Ultimately that is likely to give her a longer term career than smashing out hits for the masses. It’s not likely to feature on my own stereo with great regularity, but it’s a good career starting block and I will listen with interest to what else she has to offer in future.