Låpsley + Joe Winter

  • Saturday | 18.03.23
  • 7.00pm
  • Band on the Wall, Manchester
  • £14.50 Advance

in this beautiful middle space’, she says. ‘But you need to experience the extremes to learn where that is.’ After an explosive rise to fame as a teenager, when she first uploaded her minimal, mournful self-produced electronica to SoundCloud, Merseyside-born Holly Fletcher’s debut album Long Way Home was released to critical acclaim on XL in 2016. Singles ‘Hurt Me’ and ‘Falling Short’ confirmed her as one of the most exciting new songwriting talents, whilst DJ Koze’s disco edit of ‘Operator’ produced an instant dancefloor classic. Extensive touring followed as Holly honed her craft as a writer and performer, her first proper gig was at Glastonbury, she’s since gone on to played Coachella, All Points East and countless other festivals. But exhaustion meant she needed a break before follow-up Through Water (2020).

After enrolling at Goldsmiths College in 2021 to study Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Holly decided to leave university to concentrate on her career in music. Documenting struggles and changes of direction, Cautionary Tales of Youth is a form of therapy in the truest sense: a talking cure and a hauntingly beautiful confession, resulting in a thrilling yet soulful opera of youth, love, and loss. Holly sings in raw and honest terms about everything that’s happened to her, processing through a public medium the most painful private experiences. These are ‘cautionary tales’ are hers to own but it is a testament to Holly’s mature songwriting ability and the carefully plotted storybook structure of the record that she mediates easily between the personal and the universal. The outcome is a record at once deeply intimate yet profoundly relatable. We have all had an argument in a car and just wanted to float away (‘Levitate’), felt lost or directionless (‘Hotel Corridors’) or excited about the future (‘Say I’m What You Need’). Holly gives voice to and explores the commonalities of contemporary relationships by sharing her truth and her story.

Personal experience has always been the wellspring of Låpsley’s creativity, as evinced by the 2014 self-produced single ‘Station’ that launched her to an international audience. The difference now is that she has grown into a consummate storyteller, adept at weaving evocative musical narratives with lush electronic textures, instantly memorable vocal melodies and a hoard of experiences and self-reflections on which to draw.

A Cautionary Tale of Youth ends with ‘Say I’m What You Need’, a melancholic but uplifting track that reflects on the optimistic beginnings of love after the end of the relationship, and so bringing the narrative concept of the album full circle. It fittingly evinces the personal growth that results from self-reflection and a process of emotional maturation. ‘I wanted to end with something which encapsulates that initial ferocity of love and sums up the intensity of the relationship’, she says. As a result, Låpsley has discovered a healthier, happier path. ‘You have these ideas when you’re a teenager or in your early twenties of what you need to have or reach – this relationship or that milestone – to feel complete. But you learn the hard way, because if you keep doing that you’ll never be fulfilled, you’ll never love yourself, and you’ll never have successful relationships.’

Now she’s achieved the balance, Låpsley is full of hope and excitement for the future – and itching to get out on the road again and share the new album with live audiences, especially since lockdown meant she was unable to tour Through Water. ‘I’m taking forward the best things from these last few years. As a writer, as a performer, as a person, I’ve learned so much since I started eight years ago. I’m a lot more confident now – and I can’t wait to be able to share these experiences with audiences and perform this story for them’.

A standing show. On sale 9am 18th November.