wed 19/06/2024

Album: Abigail Lapell - Anniversary | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Abigail Lapell - Anniversary

Album: Abigail Lapell - Anniversary

An engaging - if doleful - set from the Canadian folk-Americana singer


Anniversary is Canadian singer-songwriter Abigail Lapell’s sixth album (if we include last year’s lengthy EP of lullabies). Her success has not reached much beyond her native land, as is often the way with Canadian acts, but she’s a proven talent, one who deserves a higher international profile.

Anniversary consists of 11 poetic folk-country meditations on love. However, anyone seeking musical representations of euphoria, joy and lust should look elsewhere for, lovely as it often is, the default setting here is a rich melancholia.

The album is co-produced by her countryman Tony Dekker, of slightly better-know indie-folkers Great Lake Swimmers, who appear on three songs, but the whole is of-a-piece and very much Lapell’s vision. The love that’s sung of is either wistful longing for one not there - possibly never even consummated? – or the loss of someone who has died. One song, the ploddy but epic “Footsteps”, even seems to be about the ghost of a loved one visiting. It’s a rustic, small-scale piece but one could imagine it repurposed on a stadium lighter-waving scale by Celine Dion.

There are delicious songs that light the path along the way. The honkytonk blues of “Blue Blaze” is a treat, akin to something of Exile on Main Street; closer “Stars” is a tender, gorgeous love song, for once for someone available and present (“There is no place I’d rather be, nothing I would rather do/Than to hold you tight on an August night and count the stars with you”); both “Rattlesnake” and “Flowers in My Hair” are clap-rhythmed, part-song square dances, filtered through a shuffly folk gothic; “Blue Electric Skies” is a strummed cowboy ballad assailed by a theremin-wind-whistle sadness. And there are more.

On a first few listens, I’d suggest Anniversary’s persistent slo’mo’ moodiness would benefit from an injection of vitality, even jollity. The lyrics are, after all, often energized and urgent (check out “Wait Up” whose opening couplet is “I was a cold-hearted bastard with a gunmetal grin/You were a natural disaster, rattling the door ‘til I let you in”). But it’s also quite possible this is a grower, blossoming within its own doleful idiom.

Below: Watch the video for "Flowers in My Hair" by Abigail Lapell featuring Great Lake Swimmers

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