mon 04/03/2024

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

Album: Abigail Lapell - Lullabies

Album: Abigail Lapell - Lullabies

Canadian singer takes a short, sweet, somnambulant sojourn

Star-sailing to dreams

Abigail Lapell is a singer feted and given awards in her homeland of Canada, but who has yet to reach far outside it. Folk is her metier but only insofar as it’s Joni Mitchell’s.

Five albums into her career, inspired by COVID lockdown-induced insomnia, she gives us a short set of lullabies from around the world, alongside a sole new song of her own. It is a hazily gentle and often lovely thing.

Unlike Lapell’s previous albums, Lullabies is pared-back to completely solo, featuring just her voice, her sparse guitar picking, and occasional layered backing vocals. The songs are about all manner of subjects, so the press release states, but six of the eight are in the languages in which they were written, so those not speaking that language will enjoy them as much as a mood and for their tunes. There is pleasure in this; these are songs to fall asleep to so, without the narratives to hook you in, they have a quality of melancholic ambience.

The catchy chorus of the Spanish “Señora Santana” and the floaty, harmonics of the French “Isabeau” sit, as a piece, alongside sleepy songs in Yiddish, Hebrew, German and Japanese. “Suo Gân”, originally a Welsh number, has some verses in English, but Lapell’s own “Go to Sleep” is the only song solely in that language. The latter, based on a half-remembered fragment of a song Lapell’s mother sang to her, and borrowing a snifter of flavour from the old classic “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, is possibly the album’s highlight and made me wish there was more of Lapell’s own work on board.

Short, easy-on-the-ear and touched by the forlorn, Lullabies feels like something Lapell needs to let loose before moving to her next bigger project. It’s quietly effective, at its best mustering the mood when the brain is closing off to those strange, unknown spaces where it resides when we sleep. As Suo Gân” suggests, “Hear no tempests, fear no storm, sleep, my dear one…”

Below: watch the lyric video for "Go to Sleep" by Abigail Lapell

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