Sometimes, an album’s artwork tells you everything you need to hear about the work that lies within. On 2016 debut ‘Long Way Home’, Låpsley stares you down from the sleeve, the defiant look on her young face setting the scene for her sad-synth mediations on disappointing relationships and internal hurt. On ‘Through Water’ she’s stopped demanding answers and has given herself over to the elements - a deep dive of commitment, going wherever the waves might take her.
The leap has definitely paid off - her inimitable voice thrives in the woozy dancehall and afrobeat-inspired ‘First’ and the big pop confidence of ‘Womxn’, but also knows when to take a step back, peppering the record with spoken word segments and heartfelt mantras that tie the whole thing together. Her work will always be defined by its understated, vulnerable nature, but here it feel much more an intention than an accident - an artist learning to lean into their strengths, no longer shrinking back in the wake of darkness. Bringing the record to a close on the delicate ‘Speaking Of The End’, she confronts it directly: “I’m running a new race… I’ve sculpted a new face”. By adding an extra layer of complexity to her sound without compromising on intimacy, it’s a solid evolution that bodes incredibly well for wherever she swims to next.
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