Photos by Dakota Arsenault.
At the ripe age of nineteen, British singer-producer Låpsley is hungry for the skills and career that many take several years to hone. A bedroom creative with her laptop as equipment and a deep desire to become immersed in the electronic realm resulted in her first EP Monday, a spot on the long list for the BBC Sound Of… series and signing with XL Recordings. It was such a busy season and the curiosity of Låpsley’s self-produced ambience that found the Drake Underground stuffed in anticipation for her performance at last year’s Canadian Music Week.
She returned to this year’s festivities with the assistance of opener Morly and an expanded catalogue by way of her recently released debut Long Way Home, an effort that indicated Låpsley’s persistence to expand the scope of her artistry through the intersection of well-constructed narratives, immense vocal depth and the staccato pulses of slow-burn electronica. Many have likened Låpsley to a mixture of Adele, James Blake and/or Jamie xx; while the formula appears to point that way, the showcase at The MOD Club proved that this artist is very much her own entity entirely.
It boiled down to one thing, mainly: Låpsley is even better off-record. The extent of her songwriting felt more realized above a quiet hush of a packed audience. The cuts on broken relationships and disappointment found in songs like “Hurt Me”, “Painter” and “Falling Short” are inherently important navigations of complex emotional situations, but the unsettling feelings are that much more poignant when the vocals can stretch in equally polished yet unprecedented ways.
While disco-inspired “Operator” and cheer-inducing ways of “Station” and “Love Is Blind” shifted the atmosphere, Låpsley also casually broke it by her own commentary on the Raptors, the Canadian drinking age and her make-up errors. “I look at the pics the next day. I’ll be like ‘Damn girl, you didn’t blend.’” Somehow, I don’t think people noticed over the course of the hour. There was far more to gather from this emerging star in-person.