'These Elements' by Låpsley, album review Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions

XL Recordings

7.0

Låpsley

These Elements

The transition between your teenage years into adulthood can be a particularly challenging time for anyone. If you are an artist that is in the process of this huge life transition while being in the spotlight, this process can be even more of a challenge. Luckily these artists can rely on whatever their medium is to process this development. For Låpsley, the English singer, songwriter and producer, she was able to document this for her new EP These Elements. Her debut full length Long Way Home was released three years ago and the time in between found Låpsley experiencing the kinds of growing pains we all go through from being a teenager to a woman in her early twenties and with These Elements, she lays this all bare for the world to hear.

The four song collection is quite the thoughtful one. The EP kicks off with “My Love Was Like The Rain” showcasing Låpsley’s smooth vocals over a track of minimal beats and airy synths. The other thing the track showcases is a newfound clarity and confidence in her approach to songwriting. She sounds like she’s been through some changes and has definitely come out on the other end of things a more mature person through these experiences. “Eve”, with its syncopated claps and super ear worm of a chorus, is as hooky as it is beautiful. About a one sided relationship, Låpsley laments a situation in which their partner seems to be taking more than giving. EP highlight “Ligne 3” is a moving mediation on a failed relationship. She wrote the song about the demise of her last relationship and how moving on isn’t as simple as it seems it could be. She sings. “It’s not easy letting go, It’s not that simple” and it hits hard and painfully real. Låpsley has said she wanted to paint a picture of not only the end of the relationship but the day it all fell apart. “You don’t just fall out of love with someone,” she says, “that’s not how life works.” The track is sparse and floats along on pure emotion. Låpsley paints the picture simply and honestly through her lyrics. The EP closes with “Drowing” another beautifully minimal endeavour. Softly and gently, she sings over a droning piano riff that bursts open in the chorus. While the track is the most energetic of the bunch, it doesn’t skimp on any feeling.

Trying to navigate the changes in one’s life, while getting all sorts of challenges thrown at you is just a part of growing up. Låpsley clearly sounds like she has been through her fair share of this over the last few years. She’s said about the collection of songs that make up These Elements that, “Emotional love, physical desire, depression and self-worth. Everything I’ve gone through in the last four years is in these four songs.” All this doesn’t come out in an abstract or obtuse way but very directly and completely with her heart on her sleeve. Growing up may not be easy but with album’s like These Elements out there, it’s nice to have something to make the pain go down smoother and a realization that we are not alone.

review by Adam Fink

These Elements by Låpsley is now available via XL Recordings