Review Summary: More of the same (great) stuff from Somerset's prized pop starlet.
Gabrielle Aplin’s third EP, simply titled Home
, doesn’t mark a significant departure or upgrade in her sound. At the age of nineteen, this rising star from Somerset has proven that she has the voice to do great things – and over the course of three releases in a little over one year, we have watched her “stay in the middle of the road”, so to speak. But with a voice as elegant as hers and with a knack for crafting dynamic pop tunes, you probably won’t hear too many people complaining.
The name of the game on Home
is pretty much the same as it was on Never Fade
, and that is to surround Aplin’s beautiful vocals with as pleasant sounding of an atmosphere as you can find. Of course, since she performs all of her own music from guitars to piano, that responsibility falls squarely on her shoulders. If her cumulative work to date is any indication though, Aplin is one chick who thrives under pressure. Especially on Home
, she never seems pressured to do anything besides what she wants to do, thus resulting in one of the most refreshingly unforced sounds in modern day pop.
The title track is a prime example, basking in warm nostalgia while gradually unraveling to a background of tender acoustic strums and hushed drum beats. The lyrics seem to tell Aplin’s present story, painting the picture of someone who loves her home dearly, but knows she can’t stay there if she is ever to find herself. Lines such as “I’m a phoenix in the water / A fish that’s learnt to fly / And I’ve always been a daughter / But feathers are meant for the sky” capture the sentiment perfectly, proving that Gabrielle is just as effective on paper as she is on a microphone. It is this type of maturity that may lead you to believe that she is older and has more experience, but the realization that she still has her entire life (and career) ahead of her only raises her figurative ceiling.
The remaining four songs on the EP are no less impressive, combining upbeat ditties with more pensive ballads – all of which coexist magnificently for such a short record. ‘Keep Pushing Me’ has a sound that is almost ironic, consisting of cheerily sung verses in the face of breakup-oriented lyrics. The whistled beginning to its follow up, ‘Out On My Own’, flawlessly introduces more of a folk vibe consisting of detailed acoustic picking, elegant piano notes, and unexpected vocal shifts. The final two tracks, ‘Romeo Must Die’ and ‘Let Me In’, strut along rather slowly but succeed (perhaps more so than anywhere else on Home
) in highlighting Aplin’s full range. By the end of the album’s brief runtime, the listener is left with a very good idea of all the different things Gabrielle Aplin brings to the table.
Even though Home
may not be the shell-busting release we were all looking forward to from Gabrielle Aplin, it certainly does everything it can to cement her status as an artist to watch in the coming years. Her consistent delivery of pleasant and transparently talented pop music is something that can’t (and won’t) be ignored for much longer. So as we sit back and anxiously await her first full-length, Home
will have to suffice as an appetizer that hits the spot just right.