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Canadian folk artist Abigail Lapell returns with sixth album ‘Anniversary’

Although Lapell's album features many gems, more than once it hits a multiple song lull.

Established Canadian songwriter and self-described “folk noiristAbigail Lapell has released her sixth album Anniversary. Released on May 10, the record incorporates a blend of country, folk, and blues music into its 11-song tracklist.

The album opens up with fresh and vibrant vocals in “Anniversary Song.” Though the lyricism struggles at points, Lapell sustains the song through her illuminated voice and playful instrumentals. The ceremonial piano melody in “Footsteps” entices the listener into a track which does not disappoint. Lapell’s brilliant vocal performance develops the song beautifully. “Count On Me” serves as a captivating duet between Lapell and Tony Dekker of the Great Lake Swimmers. Thematically, the song provides an earnest assurance of loyalty and devotion. The simplicity in Lapell’s lyricism on this track creates a feeling of honesty and sincerity. Standout lyrics which exemplify this are “I’ll have and hold you like a melody / Just remember / You can always count on me.”

As a first time listener of Lapell, the first three songs on this album struck me as captivating and engaging. At this point, I was quite impressed with the direction the album was taking. However, this momentum came to a halt with “Rattlesnake.”

The progression of “Rattlesnake” is elementary and cliché at its best, and painfully annoying at its worst. The percussion lacks originality. Lapell’s repetitive, drawn out vocal performance drags in the latter-half of the song. The hazy blues track “Blue Blaze” fails to recover from “Rattlesnake,” but Lapell’s brilliant melody draws the listener right back in with “Someone Like You.” The verses chug along with a catchy confidence that is unforgettable, and the instrumental build-up leads to a brilliant chorus. This song immediately stuck out to me as one of my personal favourites from this album.

The album falls into another lull for the next three songs, which points to the greater issue that limits Anniversary. The strongest tracks on this album proceed a distinct dullness. The standout songs provide Anniversary with momentum, yet it never quite reaches the heights it could.

Wait Up” and “Stars” act as a solid conclusion. The trumpet in “Wait Up” is brilliant, and it works alongside the sharp electric guitar to bring a new sound to Anniversary. The instrumentals in this track seamlessly blend with Lapell’s powerful vocals, making it another highlight of the album. Finally, “Stars” (another collaboration with Great Lake Swimmers) provides a soft and reassuring ending to this body of work. Lapell paints a vivid and comforting image of staring up at the stars in the August sky, declaring that she will “never sing alone” as long as she is with her loved one.

While this is definitely not a “skipless” album for me, I’d argue that Lapell has created some really great individual tracks. Throughout my multiple listens, I found that none of the songs which I initially disliked have grown on me. On the other hand, tracks like “Wait Up” and “Someone Like You” have only gotten better and better. It’s worth listening through the album to find the real gems. When Lapell does deliver, she really delivers.

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