The main hall of Webster Hall was alight with atmospheric pop on Wednesday night. The experience was surreal as UK duo hailing from the Lake District, Aquilo, opened for the twenty year-old English electronic sensation Låpsley.
Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher combine as Aquilo to create a surreal listening experience for viewers. Initially the two fronted competing bands (one a grunge band and the other a metal outfit) in their hometown. A few years ago Higham and Fletcher came together to make electronic music. Now their music’s calming waves of sound are augmented by melancholy vocals and tight production.
On stage, Higham and Fletcher are humble gentlemen who have a calming presence when they play. They performed the dark nightclub jam “Good Girl” and the souring “Silhouette.” Aquilo switched it up with the dreamy-R&B track, “Better Off Without You.” The background saxophone adds an interesting layer to the soulful lyrics, “Tell me you love me, tell me you need me/ Tell me you’re fading and you laughed at my doubt.”
Låpsley closed the night with an otherworldly performance. Back-lit by powerful white lights and her name in neon letters, the singer-songwriter mesmerized the audience with minimalist production and booming vocals. She played songs off of her debut album, Long Way Home (released March 4, 2016 on XL Recordings), and older singles like “Burn.” Despite her age, Låpsley commands attention on stage and sings with conviction. When she sung the breakup ballad “Hurt Me,” her vocals exploded as she cycled through verses and choruses- almost as if she was challenging her ex-lover to “hurt [her] a little bit more.”
Each Låpsley song carries an emotive quality that leaves a ghostly impression on listeners. Their themes are familiar but the risks she takes with song production pull her away from the category of traditional pop songs. The feelings of melancholy are evident, yet have a freeing quality that unnervingly brings comfort. Låpsley is on tour in the United States through mid-November.
Article: Alx Bear