Published Jan 05, 2015English singer-songwriter Holly Lapsley Fletcher, performing under the moniker Låpsley, has had quite the whirlwind 2014: she found herself on the BBC Sound of 2015 longlist, signed to XL Recordings, and now boasts a full team including management, PR and booking agent — all at the age of 18. But regardless of her age, this was a long time coming for the Liverpool native, who'd already been writing, producing and recording on her own for quite some time, and released the deceptively simple self-released Monday EP in 2013.
All the ingredients of her earlier material find themselves on her major label debut Understudy EP, but with a heavy dose of polish and shine that's not necessarily unwelcome. Her soulful delivery, layered with her own pitched vocals, sparse production and heart-on-your-sleeve lyricism remain, as does her considerable knack for melody. EP opener "Falling Short" is a beautiful exercise in simplicity, a piano-driven ballad counterbalanced by subtle drum patterns and soft cymbals. "Brownlow" on the other hand, is all synths and drum pads that disappear and reappear throughout, with her pitched vocals taking centre stage. By the time "8896" comes along, the production goes into overdrive, filling the track with various synths, drums and piano effects, but with such a light touch that none of them overpower Låpsley's vocals. Organ-heavy EP closer "Dancing" posits rhythm movement as a metaphor for longing and heartbreak to devastating effect, with the track swelling up to a buzzy climax before dropping off completely, and then starting up again for a loopy staccato finale.
Where this young talent's career will take her remains to be seen, but with a nurturing home at XL and an arsenal of fantastic material, I'd wager above and beyond a humble understudy. (XL)