Gabrielle Aplin has seen the world, and she’s heard the world. International touring, 1.5 million sales of singles from her debut album ‘English Rain’, a UK Number One, two Australian Number Ones, a gold-selling album in the UK, a BBC Introducing YouTube channel whose views trumps those of Ed Sheeran, George Ezra and Royal Blood, a signing by Storm model agency – all of that has fed, bled and rushed into her second album.
The result is a bigger, bolder, fresher and brilliantly louder singer-songwriter. ‘Light Up The Dark’ is a collection of songs, written and recorded in a producer-friend’s house in a corner of Stoke Newington, North East London. Both intimate and expansive, they bristle with energy, crackle with atmosphere and swagger with a Feist-meets-Cat Power brainy cool. These are songs with attitude and ideas, written from the head and the heart, bound for the soul.
Single ‘Light Up The Dark’ is the first taste of the album of the same name, and it instantly telegraphs Aplin’s fresh outlook and new working methods. ‘Skeleton’, slated to be a single, is another case in point. Energetic with synthesised brass stabs, pounding piano and Hudson Taylor’s violin player, Aplin and her circle of intimates “bashed it together” in an hour. ‘Sweet Nothing’, with its infectious syncopated beat and giddy rush of a vocal, is another startling, invigorating left turn.
‘Shallow Love’ is something different again, a pulse-stopping ballad rich with gospel-inspired backing vocals that sound both heavenly-high and down-home. Then there’s ‘Heavy Heart’, currently Aplin’s personal favourite, a bluesy groove that showcases the new depth and range to her voice, and which was recorded on a vintage microphone.
On ‘Light Up The Dark’, Aplin has smashed it. It’s a heartfelt, homemade, sky-high collection of songs, “a lot of which are technically the demos – I’m really happy about that.” states this whip-smart, confident artist who knows what she wants and how to get it.
Gabrielle Aplin has seen the world, and she’s heard the world. And now the world is about to see and hear her all over again, in new, widescreen colour.