Toronto vocalist, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist Abigail Lapell is rewriting the narrative of her past in a new album that says farewell to transience, both emotional and physical. Recently engaged, and with her new album, Getaway, due out February 1, 2019 via Coax Records / Outside, Lapell in her latest work offers parting words to a time in her life she’s leaving behind. A bold vocalist with the rare ability to stop you cold with her voice, Lapell’s powerful, uncompromising nature is mirrored in her determined new album.
A whirlpool of genres, Getaway is grounded by the resolute essence of Lapell’s crystal voice, which demands a peaceful concentration. Drowned in an ethereal beauty, waves of pop persuasions are overturned by avant-garde forays, while classic rock riffs and indie folk roots float to the breezy surface. Reminiscent of the introspective strength of Bridget St. John, the vocal power of Natalie Merchant, and the trance-like lulls of Sybille Baier, Getaway combines a mid-century tone with a modern edge.
LP opener and first single “Gonna Be Leaving” echoes the certainty that sooner or later, every relationship will end. “This is one of my favorite tunes on the album, and one of the most fun to play live,” says Lapell. “The song started as a guitar part that I couldn’t get out of my head, this insistent line that keeps circling back on itself, doubled by the vocals in a sing-song rhyme all about the contradictions of couplehood: the push and pull of independence versus commitment, trying to make it work even against the odds, or trying to leave and not being able to.” Closing the album, “Shape of a Mountain,” written in the Alberta Rockies during a Banff Centre artist residency, sets majestic scenes of wanderlust over cinematic strings.
Though an active member of the thriving Toronto indie folk scene and a winner of a 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award, Lapell’s sound is distinct due in part to the influences she’s been surrounded by on her extensive travels. Throughout her career, Lapell has performed around the world, toured by bike, canoe, and train, shared a cheap Montréal apartment with tUnE-yArDs, and completed writing residencies across North America. The result is work that’s primarily rooted in indie folk, but that delicately weaves in sounds like Canadiana desert rock and even an accordion-driven shanty on “Runaway.”
Working once again with producer Chris Stringer at Toronto’s Union Sound studio, Lapell expanded her pool of collaborators, recruiting Christine Bougie (Bahamas) on lap steel, Dan Fortin (Bernice) on bass, and Jake Oelrichs (Run With The Kittens) on drums. Trumpeter and composer Rebecca Hennessy plays on “Sparrow for a Heart”—her trumpet swirling in a sublime duet with Lapell’s synth flute and electric guitar—and also arranged horn parts for band workout “Little Noise.” The album also features longtime collaborator Lisa Bozikovic on piano and vocals and fellow Canadian indie roots singer Dana Sipos on vocals. One of the record’s most striking moments is just acoustic guitar and two voices: Lapell and Sipos, captured live in a room together, harmonizing atop plucked strings on the transfixing “Down by the Water.”
Abigail Lapell is no stranger to constant traveling, but she’s now making peace with putting down roots, both with her life in Toronto and within love. The eleven prairie noir tracks on Getaway represent a dynamic closing to this reflective journey. Whether transient and exploring, or switching gears to build a home, one thing about Abigail Lapell remains fixed and clear: all of it will be on her terms.
1. Riverbed (4:42)
2. All Your Dead Things (3:42)
3. A Thousand Horses (3:42)
4. New York City (4:38)
5. Comin Round (3:29)
6. Worn Down Boy (2:46)
7. Rosalee (3:01)
8. My Old Friend (5:13)
9. Ticket To Ride (5:01)