Winner of last year’s One to Watch title at Merseyside’s GIT awards, Holly Lapsley Fletcher has slowly began to gain recognition for her creative talents. Lapsley is a musician in every sense of the word. Classically trained but electronically-orientated, she writes, performs, and produces all her own tracks, Long Way Home – her newly released debut album – is a unique showcase of these various talents.
The imaginative pairing of hypnotic synthetics and unrefined vocals gives the album a mesmerising sound. A particularly emotive touch comes with the thematic pitch-distortions whereby Lapsley adopts a lower-ranged male persona with whom she then duets. In ‘Tell Me The Truth’ this effect is used on an R&B style hook to resemble a combative argument between two lovers.
Lapsley has ben highly praised in light fo the fact that she is just nineteen years old, yet her age seems almost irrelevant – not to mention it a little patronising – given the clarity with which her music speaks for itself. Long Way Home is a mosaic of various musical influences, pieced together with skilful music artistry. Highlights include the upbeat disco number ‘Operator’, which features, her characteristic digital inserts yet at the same time authentically captures the energy of Motown soul.
Although perhaps unavoidable in the case of a debut album, the few commercially orientated tracks in Long Way Home fail to to hold their own amongst the more experimental flourishes. ‘Hurt Me’ verges along the lines of a repetitive Adele pop-ballad altogether lacking in the expansive space that makes earlier tracks like ‘Station’ so engaging. What’s more, at a lengthy forty-seven minutes, the album is in danger of losing its initial hypnotic effect.
Whilst ambitious in variety, Lapsley’s creative inclination is specifically towards the kind of minimalist electronics found in her Understudy EP. The final track ‘Seven Months’ develops this style using haunting vocal echoes, closing the album with a touching vulnerability. It’s these moments of fragility – in which raw vocal melodies blend organically into synthetic soundscapes – that are testament to Lapsley’s captivating potential as an artist.