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Album Review: Gabrielle Aplin - English Rain

  • Written by  Danielle Shields

From uploading covers of You Me At Six, to sharing her own song writing capability,  Gabrielle Aplin is the epitome of the perks that YouTube can bring. The emotional tropes draped within the twenty-year-old's folk/indie début live up seamlessly to the title, English Rain.Armed with her piano,  guitar and  vocals, the twelve track album is a raw yet carefully crafted insight into Gabrielle’s mature teenage mind. Each song is like a sheltered memory sung in her soft sweet Snow White-esque voice.


Strangely the songs that Gabrielle has been working on for the longest duration, like the charming opening track ‘Panic Cord’, gives a more playfully restless vibe resembling a witty Kate Nash. In contrast to the slow ballads that seem to have been rushed to record to mimic the crescendo she reached with  December's number one cover of ‘The Power of Love’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Gabrielle’s older acoustic tunes are the ones that showcase her true talent. Like the fierce ‘Keep on Walking’, the extremely catchy ‘Human’ and the beautiful ‘November’. These are the simple, delicate songs which excite you to see what this artist has the potential to produce. However, it seems she has continued down the slow niche route after the success of her John Lewis advert, where meaning and truth are washed away in overly glamorised music.

That gift of being able to move audiences into a dreamlike state of idealism through poetic music is what Aplin has admiringly been able to accomplish. Most artists do this, regardless if it has substance or not, by wrapping their lyrics in soft melodies with words which are sharp and clever. Gabrielle is able to paint this elegant imagery in your mind; seen through the lenses of a '70s grainy camera, of a female racing through the forest in a pure white dress, flowers falling from her hair whilst holding a scarlet balloon which glides in the air. This mood fittingly resembles the cover art of the album.

Gabrielle lets us experience these emotions within her music. You can feel the love that has been poured into such singles as ‘Salvation’. The song which launched Aplin into the limelight last summer, ‘Home’, is at the heart of this graceful it-feels-good-to-be-alive album which illustrates the importance of pain and scars and the sweetness to be found in even the smallest thing.

In this era where folk music has reached its peak, it’s obvious that there are many people Aplin can be compared to. ‘Ready to Question’ and ‘Please Don’t Say You Love Me’ are reminiscent of Mumford & Sons, her acoustic melodies follow in the footsteps of Laura Marling, whilst her wit puts her in direct competition with Edinburgh’s Nina Nesbitt. Despite these challenges, Gabrielle proves that she has the ability to craft her own music, Although she needs time to strengthen her songs rather than relying on weak love melodies.

For those who have followed Gabrielle’s career, it is easy to see how much her voice has developed over the past four years and English Rain is the ideal teenage soundtrack that any twenty-year-old should be proud of.

English Rain is out on May 13 and available from amazon and iTunes.

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