The Boy Who Wants To Fly – Paul Lappin (album review)

Up until now, most journalistic pens put to paper regarding Paul Lappin have dwelt on the back-story, the chance meetings, the lucky alignment of factors, the path from rural France to a Swindon recording studio. But the release of this first full length album means that all of that can now take a back seat, now we have far more important things to talk about. We have an album to discuss.

The Boy Who Wants To Fly covers a lot of lyrical territory, everything from the feeling of paralysis when faced with world events to more soul-searching, intimate and personal themes, but the message is always optimistic and the music full of life, even when conveying some quite intense thoughts. But the ability to mix emotions, to fill buoyant music with weighty concerns or to deliver positive vibes via a reserved approach is just part of the contradictory nature of the best music. It is the latter route that the title track travels so deftly, a restrained and underplayed dream-scape which reminds us to follow our dreams, no matter what they might tell us.

But for the most part the album wanders along indie pathways, skirts around rock territory, albeit neatly avoiding the cliches that the genre is littered with, and displays an infectiousness and immediacy which is usually the bastion of pop music. Where Were You When? tips its hat, in part, to past sounds, a Stone Roses’ haze drifting over shimmering, guitars and funk-infused beats, but never sounding anything other than belonging to the here and now. To use the parlance of a previous era it’s not where you are from its where you are at, and whilst this is an album happy to wear its influences openly on its sleeve, it knows exactly where it is at. Right here. Right now.

The Lonely finds us in classic singer-songwriter territory, the sort of song which has been the back bone of contemporary music from the sixties onwards, swathed in rich musical textures and chiming guitar motifs and lyrically heart-felt and poetic, breaking its measured stride only to allow some heightened lead breaks to play the song out.

Life Was Good is where the story of the album started, but you can read up on that elsewhere, its a great story, but the music is what really matters and this song is a masterclass in building musical momentum, gradually adding imperceptible weight to its jaunty grooves through various sonic additions before reaching its life-affirming chorus. 

Having been teased by an array of great singles for the past year, there has been a lot of anticipation surrounding this album. It is fair enough to say that it doesn’t disappoint. And although the singles which lead the way to a debut release often turn out to be the edited highlights, here they only begin to do justice to the more intricate and expressive songs to be found between them. When was the last time that happened? Not for a while, I’ll wager.

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