On her faultless debut EP ‘Understudy’, Låpsley gave the impression of someone getting used to new territory. Early tracks with XL’s in-house producer Rodaidh McDonald were sparse but sharp pop songs, informed by club culture, but not in a highbrow way. These tracks had the same spirit as someone scoring a fake ID and discovering a city at night.
When it comes to her first full-length ‘Long Way Home’, Låpsley is no longer playing catch-up with the world around her. Her songs still carry the post-midnight isolation, but make no mistake - she’s writing straight-up anthems that could fly in any environment. Gloomy but uplifting, the playful ‘Hurt Me’ is a chart-ready triumph disguised in an unusual coat of feathers. ‘Tell Me the Truth’ makes use of her signature, pitch-bending vocals, but it could also soundtrack break-ups for a generation. The same applies to ‘Love is Blind’, its plucked harps and sky-reaching chants going way beyond the blog-friendly status Holly Fletcher first emerged with.
It’s taken just a couple of years for Låpsley to write songs both universal and complex. ‘Painter’, one of her first ever efforts, makes the cut here. There’s a childlike, tinny xylophone in the background, vocals arriving from several sides. It’s as simple as they come, and proof that she’s always had the potential to pen giant numbers with no strings attached. On ‘Long Way Home’, she delivers these in spades.