In all the bombastic, over-produced pop that’s churned out these days, Låpsley comes as a strong advocate for the ‘less is more’ adage. Since her emergence, hers has been a deep neo-soul sound that does so much with very little, a feat that’s hard to carry off even by seasoned pros, never mind someone debuting on Long Way Home.
Opening with Heartless is a smart move for Holly Fletcher, given how it encompasses everything that she can do in the most beautifully affected way. That rich, velvety vocal drips over piano-driven beats, blooming over a chorus as Fletcher sings “space, distance, and a backbench post/ these are the times I suffer the most… and I wake up heartless”. Ironic, given that this performance (and the entire record) is anything but.
Without a doubt, she’s the star of this show, as rightly she should be. Even in the over-saturated market of female electronic pop, Låpsley shines as someone with legit potential to breakthrough. Hurt Me wraps itself around quirky beats before disarming with a massive chorus; Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me) almost feels like a stripped back Motown disco classic, delivered in a way only Fletcher would have the nous for (not to mention being a bloody brilliant use of telephonetics).
Following up this alt-banger with the fragility of Painter is what seals the deal for Fletcher on the debut, but she’s certainly not one to rest on her laurels as the album keeps delivering till its closing breath. Tell Me The Truth is a ridiculously inventive trap-led jam, with Fletcher eschewing ego to manipulate her own vocals to great effect. It’s that kind of risk-taking, balanced with her perfect execution of more traditional elements, that makes this an absolute must-listen. It may be a Long Way Home for Låpsley, but this is certainly where her heart is.