ALBUM REVIEW: Gabrielle Aplin – Dear Happy

Release Date: January 17th 2020
Label: Never Fade Records/AWAL


English singer/songwriter Gabrielle Aplin returns with her lush third LP, ‘Dear Happy’. After a few years estranged from full-length releases, Aplin returns sun-glazed and as sway-worthy as ever. Each track on this effort is clean, bubbly, and inexplicably gorgeous.

‘Dear Happy’ waves into our ears with the buoyant ‘Until The Sun Comes Up’, a paisley-printed track of muted greens and striking yellows, melting the artificialities of pop with endearing idiosyncrasies and swishing beats. Aplin‘s vocal deliveries are dewy and refreshing, like this release is the cooling rain we all deserve following a period of profuse pop recycling.

Clap beats staple the billowing sheets of ‘Kintsugi’ together in an attempt to keep the sheer brilliance of this track among the confines of the physical album. Clipped consonants pepper the chorus in sugar and spice, weaving an attitude throughout an otherwise melancholy subjected track, and “All my scars are golden” rings true as Aplin jives to the honeyed grooves of the track.

In being Aplin‘s first full-length since 2015’s ‘Light Up The Dark’, it’s undeniable that there were blinding plumes of anticipation regarding the artist’s most recent addition atop her anthology of prior releases. With such an astonishing track record, though, it’s hardly surprising that Aplin yet again knocks it well and truly out of the candied park.

With stunners like ‘Strange’ and ‘Like You Say You Do’ bobbing shoulders and heads alternately in the first half of the fourteen-track alone, Aplin‘s voice is cushioned with equally as unfazed instrumentation that flurries and ebbs seamlessly.

While the content of the likes of ‘So Far So Good’ is truly authentic and reflective, Aplin delivers each track with a poise and precision only applicable to the crème de la crème of songwriters. Every track feels entirely natural.

‘Dear Happy’ concludes as transparently as its title suggests, drawing out to sea in a stripped-back, gentle excavation of introspection. Even the instrumental development is poignantly serene, drafting layer over layer like translucent sugar paper until Aplin bids farewell tragically, yet hopefully.

And so, the audience waves back glumly as the so-awaited release bleeds out in its grace, and Gabrielle Aplin can retreat to her dreaminess with the confidence that, yet again, and again, and again, she continues to release absolutely glorious efforts.