XL Records · December 6, 2019
The EP comes three years after Läpsley’s first album debut Long Way Home, which solidified her reputation as a talented electronic artist and producer. She came to love music as a teenager, when she would take the bus to Liverpool from her childhood home in Southport, UK to attend underground warehouse raves. Her own musical style developed from this love for the rave scene of electronic music and psychedelic drugs, as well as her musical background in classical guitar, piano and drums. Coming from the inspiration of two very different backgrounds, her own style “met somewhere in the middle.”
This blend of classical and electronic was seen on Long Way Home in songs such as “Seven Months,” which combines classical piano with an upbeat electronic rhythm. These Elements builds upon Läpsley’s strong production skills, adding an emotional integrity not seen before. The four songs stand together as a unified set, tied together with imagery of nature that speaks to the underlying themes of love, loss, depression, and self-confidence.
The EP opens with “My Love Was Like the Rain,” a compelling statement of lost love and self-reflection. Läpsley looks back on a past relationship through memories of criticisms she received from a past lover, in which her love was too wild, painful, or strong. These sentiments are beautifully conveyed through the use of similes to aspects of nature, comparing her love to “the pain of [rain] hard on your back after a storm.” The song shifts from self-hate to an embodiment of these criticisms, as Läpsley sings out over a synth rhythm overlayed with a catchy snare beat and tracks of blended oohs, “So I embodied these elements / I wear them like a fragrance.” This track is the most successful on the album; its lyrical imagery and tasteful production bring the listener through a story of heartbreak, self-doubt, and eventual self-acceptance and love.
This track is followed by “Eve,” a song led by a playful succession of xylophone notes, a simple bass beat, and electronic clicking. The song utilizes repetition to tell the story of a toxic love that left Läpsley empty and fallen. The chorus presents a series of questions to the listener, asking them to imagine her position of unreturned love and analyze their own lives for that experience. She also plays off of a metaphor of falling leaves, singing repeatedly “It only takes one man to fall / My leaves fall.”
The third track is “Ligne 3,” a slower, almost eerie ode to heartbreak and the overwhelming experience of missing someone you love. The chorus falls back onto the trippy electronic beat that Läpsley constructs so well, as she repeats “It’s not easy letting go / It’s not that simple.” The verses are slower and lyrical, almost a diary of her heartbreak. The song finishes with a hopeless appeal, illuminating the listener to the sorrow of a partner who tried so hard to lift her lover up and “go the distance” to make things work, and failed.
The EP finishes with “Drowning,” an honest plea against her depression. Läpsley addresses her parents, telling them the truth that she is no longer happy and wondering what happened to take away her determination. The song blends classical with electronic in the way that Läpsley does so well. Gentle classical piano is overlayed by a simple drumbeat, merging into a more developed echoing electronic beat for the chorus. Synth effects convert her voice to a higher pitch, an effect which was a staple of her debut album and exemplary of her style. The song plays with imagery of water, as Fletcher compares her depression to the experience of drowning.
These Elements is a slower, more developed work from an artist who proved her talent as a producer and songwriter on her first album years before. Läpsley’s honesty, lyricism and unique beatwork in production proves her place as a strong artist in a male dominated field. These Elements is the perfect soundtrack to a breakup, a breakdown, or a discovery of self worth, and proves that Läpsley is an artist that has more to show.
Listen to These Elements: