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Lapland - Lapland (Review)

Lapland, Lapland

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

BROOKLYN native Josh Mease, aka Lapland, delivers his eponymous debut album and immediately lays down a marker as someone to watch.

Drawing his influences from the early synth pioneers of the ’60s and ’70s, French Impressionists like Ravel and Debussy, and 1970s staples like Fleetwood Mac (instrumentally at least), Mease also has a vocal presence to draw favourable comparisons with contemporaries such as Andy Burrows and Josh Pyke, with even some Neil Finn thrown in.

Hence, his album is steeped in classic values, while managing to sound very relevant.

According to his PR, meanwhile, Mease has always found comfort in the solitude of his own thoughts, often preferring the landscapes within his mind’s eye over the bustle of the city that surrounds him. Hence, his songs have an intimacy that is somehow reassuring, while lyrically they are almost always thoughtful, reflective affairs.

Take, for instance, current single and one of the album highlights, Where Did It Go?, which boasts a wistful quality as Mease reflects on life’s changes, while couching the track in a warm glow that encourages repeat listening.

Metal Lungs, meanwhile, ponders “I don’t know why I need you, you do the strangest things to me” over an insistent guitar loop that has a cinematic quality befitting a Tarantino soundtrack choice. Vocally, meanwhile, there’s plenty of Neil Finn-like qualities. It lends the track a touch of familiarity that’s reassuring, whilst simultaneously heralding the arrival of a distinct new talent in his own right.

Further album highlights come in the form of Drink Me Dry, with its brisk guitar licks and ear-pleasing harmonies and bittersweet lyrics (“you were gonna drink me dry, you were gonna bleed me ‘til I die”), and Soldier, which spins a somewhat melancholy yarn in no less compelling fashion.

LaLaLa, meanwhile, ends things on a somewhat trippy note… tipping its toe into almost psychedelic waters for a track that confounds expectation. Its name suggests something breezy and melodic when, in fact, there’s a spaced out, trippy quality surrounding its fuzzy simplicity.

It means that Lapland continues to surprise right until the end of this debut offering. And it only raises his stock higher.

Download picks: Where Did It Go?, Drink Me Dry, Metal Lungs, Soldier

Track listing:

  1. Unwise
  2. Overboard
  3. Aeroplane
  4. Drink Me Dry
  5. Memory
  6. Where Did It Go?
  7. Fountains
  8. Metal Lungs
  9. Soldier
  10. LaLaLa