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Gabrielle Aplin - English Rain CD Album
Gabrielle Aplin is a young British singer song-writer and 'English Rain' is her first studio album. It was released on May 13th 2013.Gabrielle first came to attention on YouTube by playing acoustic tracks and covers by other artists. She has since gained a cult following and has released three extended play demos.She signed up to Parlaphone records in 2012 and had a single release 'The Power of Love', which reached number one in the UK charts.Gabrielle has toured as a support act for Gotye and Matt Cardle and is currently touring Australia and New Zealand, supporting Ed Sheeran. She plans to do a bigger solo tour herself on return. She has already done six smaller tours of the UK and Ireland over the last three years and on the back of this new album she should garner a bigger audience.So, let's take a look at the album.
Track One - Panic Chord
Panic chord is essentially what Gabrielle is all about and it is immediately recognisable with the thrumming acoustic guitar and the soft voice. For those of you who have seen her early YouTube videos, you will know what I mean. A nice little song and a good start to the album.
'Maybe I pulled the panic cord. Maybe you were happy, I was bored. Maybe I wanted you to change. Maybe I'm the one to blame.'
Track Two - Keep on Walking
Great opening to this track with Gabrielle singing in a high key and backed by vocals that wouldn't be out of place in an African choir. This song as a mature sound and Gabrielle's obvious ability belies her years. A song about separation and moving on and a really quirky beat to go with it.
'I feel so much better now you're not around. No one to kick me when I am down'.
Track Three - Please Don't Say You Love Me
Another song that speaks of love and all that it encompasses. The piano is a welcome addition to this track. It is a little too country sounding for me but still a nice little song non-the-less. Backing vocals are strong again in this track, with a more male tone to them.
'Please don't say you love me, coz I might not say it back.'
Track Four - How Do You Feel Today?
A slow number with an acoustic intro from Gabrielle. Her voice sounds excellent on this track as it has on each track so far to be honest. The backing orchestra is also more evident in this track and you can hear violin and cello blending into the snare drum and acoustic guitar.
'Now you're tripping over backwards for the days of youth you've lost.'
Track Five - Home
Another slow track in keeping with the album so far. I'm almost longing for a more upbeat track to cut in but this is not to say that I am not enjoying the album so far. I think it has been very safe so far and I am interested in whether or not Gabrielle will try something different. A slow flowing track with piano and acoustics again prevalent. The end of the track actually does explode into more life with backing vocals pitching in for a raucous chorus.
'It's not just where you lay your head; it's not just where you make your bed. As long as we're together does it matter where we go....home.'
Track Six - Salvation
Piano intro into the sixth track and then Gabrielle comes in with a deeper, sultrier voice that again belies her twenty years. I really like the piano on this track. And remember I am reviewing these songs based on my first listen to the album. I think this one will grow on me. The mid to end part of the track again explodes into a cacophony of orchestral sounds and is really powerful before Gabrielle's excellent voice comes in to end the track on a soft note.
'I never meant to fall for you but I was buried underneath and all that I could see was my...my salvation, my my.'
Track Seven - Ready To Question
Ready Question starts with a ticking clock before double acoustic guitars kick in. This song is still running in the same way that the rest of the tracks have so far. The backing vocals are again a big part of the chorus.
'See I've seen devils, I've seen saints. I've seen the lines between their fate. I've seen pictures with no meaning. I don't know what to believe.'
Track Eight - The Power Of Love
I loved this song when she released it as I am a massive fan of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood original and a massive fan of that bad, still today. It is still the best ever Christmas number one in my opinion; the original that is. The Power of Love was the first single release for Gabrielle in 2012 and is included on the album. The haunting piano makes for a fitting backdrop to this famous song. Gabrielle does a good job and believe me, Holly Johnson is a hard act to follow.
'I'll protect you from the hooded claw; keep the vampires from your door. When the chips are down, I'll be around with my undying, death defying love for you. Envy will hurt itself. Hurt yourself, be beautiful, sparkling life, flowers and pearls and pretty girls. Love is like energy, rushin in, rushin inside of me.'
Track Nine - Alive
Another nice ballad. Acoustics mix with piano as a strong base. Again Gabrielle's voice is really strong and sounds amazing. This girl can indeed sing and then some. I like this song but not sure if I will listen it regularly. As with the tendency of most tracks on the album, it opens up with strong backing vocals with a festival feel.
'All your worries will escape through the door and you wake up all alone on the floor.'
Track Ten - Human
This tracks starts with an accapella of Gabrielle and the backing vocalists and dives into an acoustic guitar riff that wouldn't be out of place in an Ennio Morricone based spaghetti western. It is hit mid-way by the now steady use of the chanting-type backing singers.
'Come closer, show the marks upon your skin....show me that you're human.'
Track Eleven -November
Probably my favourite track so far, if not for the great voice and backing vocals then simply because it is quite upbeat and I like the lyrics. Gabrielle's voice is silky smooth on this track, even when she goes into a higher key for the chorus. The drum seems to power through more on this track, which is probably why it sounds more upbeat as it has something to pop along too.
'I left you out in the English rain, to soak ya through and dilute the blame.'
Track Twelve - Start of Time
A slow start to this track again. Electric guitar and bass are prominent. Gabrielle sounds angelic on this track. A mellow track to end the album but then most of these tracks are mellow and you could lose yourself for half an hour or so while relaxing to this album.
'But when you walked into the room just then, it's like the sun came out.'
I have reviewed the standard album for this review but I own the Deluxe Edition, which contains an extra three tracks in 'Evaporate', 'Take Me Away' and 'Wake up With Me'. It also contains the RAK Sessions, which feature live studio versions of 'Alive', 'Home', 'How Do You Feel Today?' and 'Please Don't Say You Love Me'.
I am a big fan of Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds and female singers of that ilk. I was fortunate to see Ellie in Amsterdam lately and really enjoyed it. I mention this because Gabrielle has the potential to follow in Ellie's footsteps, albeit on a different path with not so much electronica or pop routed into her music.On first listen, it is not a bad album but I doubt I will be playing over twenty thousand tracks for her alone on Last FM, like I have with Ellie. Then again, perhaps it is a little unfair to compare the two.
Gabrielle certainly has a wonderful voice and if you want to relax for a while, the album certainly falls into the easy listening category.It is not a bad debut album at all and I think this young lady will go far and have a very successful career. I just hope she gets treated a little better than Vanessa Carlton was and doesn't disappear into obscurity, because the times that talented people get left by the wayside in music is sadly all too often; especially when some of the gunk on shows like X-factor shouldn't even see the light of day, but manage to become 'commercially successful' and 'manufactured' to line the pockets of the Cowells and Fullers of the world.I wish Gabrielle all the luck in the world but I'm sure she will do fine.I give the album three out of five stars based on my first listen.