The self-titled debut album from Lapland, the new vehicle for Josh Mease’s music, is unpredictable, original and highlights a wealth of individual talent from Mr Mease. With a range of styles available throughout the album, the listener is treated to a buffet of brilliance from an artist with clear awareness for musical history and an enviable range of skills.
We are first enveloped in the spatial magnificence of ‘Unwise’ which utilises effects marvelously and is somewhat of a red herring for the tracks that immediately follow – a soft, touching ballad, a formidable soul-jazz crossover and some mighty fine skiffle. It’s almost as if I’m listening to a compilation album yet the familiar voice remains throughout and acts as if it were a tour guide for this whizz through music styles.
Then we hit the delightfully enticing darkness of ‘Memory’ that seems like a lullaby straight out of the mind of Tim Burton. Despite the over-riding soothingness of the track, there remains to be a sense of mystery thanks to the excess of reverb and delicately poised synths. And before we can indulge ourselves too much in this fantasy cloud-filled sound, the drums kick in and we’re off running through Van Gogh’s Starry Night with ‘Where Did It Go’ which is a steady, relaxed track that is exponentially improved by the technical niceties flying at the listener from the right courtesy of the guitar.
Several more changes of scenery occur as we waltz our way through ‘Fountains’ in a piece that would make excellent inspiration for a short film. That’s perhaps where a lot of this album would be best at home; the effortless conjuring of imagery would be so well complimented by a thoughtfully constructed film in which Lapland’s work is able to share centre stage, although it could certainly keep an audience drawn in for days on end. As we tiptoe through the final few pick’n’mix selections on the album we arrive far too soon at the rather obviously titled ‘La La La’ which helps us glide to an unwanted end.
There’s something on this album for whatever mood you’re in and it’s refreshing to hear such a variety of compositions in modern music. A signature sound undeniably runs throughout, predominantly due to the way each track in produced, but Lapland can certainly be proud of this series of beautiful, poetic gems.