Gabrielle Aplin – English Rain Review

There is no doubt that English Rain is probably the definitive ‘Folk Pop’ album and it’s also likely that the album has been snapped up by hoards of ‘Indie Hipsters’ and chart followers aswell. But despite this it’s not annoying or unbearable yet at the same time it’s hardly innovative and she ain’t using any new tricks either. So perhaps we shouldn’t take Gabrielle Aplin at face value. I mean it is her first album too don’t forget and if you look at the basics, it’s a good footing and a solid start.  First off she has a great voice and a good vocal range which gives her room for manouvre on her second album. The basic musical composition is just that. Basic. With simple acoustic guitar riffs and standard drum sections from her ‘indie boy’ backing band. But this does put a focus on her vocals and her lyrics that are primarily hers which may be deliberate. One of the highlights from her album is from the song ‘Home’ from her 2012 EP of the same name. It builds up in a subtle way with the gradual introduction of an acoustic guitar, piano and drums. Her vocals coincide with this and is one of her stonger vocal performances from an album which is very vocal based. Her singles ‘Panic Chord’ and ‘Please Don’t Say You Love Me’ are also very vocal based with the music taking more of a back seat with the standard acoustic and piano additions. With similar lyrics that are about broken relationships this makes these two singles almost directly aligned with each other. On a commercial level they are great for a particular target audience and in getting her nationwide attention but perhaps not in highlighting her musical ability. Of course her number 1 single in the run up to Christmas last year; the cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘The Power Of Love’ was also a good vocal delivery which is a given with Aplin. Other songs such as ‘Salvation’ are still simple musically but have more of an atmospheric quality to them and see’s Aplin explore her vocal range a little more with more low pitched introductory lines. The same goes for the final track on the album ‘Start Of Time’ which again builds up nicely with a non acoustic guitar sound. ‘Human’ has sort of a tribal drum sound to it which gives it a different sort of a more ‘indie’ sound. November too is similar and an electric guitar is dusted off for it aswell for little riffs in the verses. That’s about the size of it really. It’s a very nice record which if you’re after innovation or a new sound, it’s not for you. But there are possible avenues for her to explore as long as she doesn’t get sucked it by the commercial, monotonous machine which is the mainstream music industry. She has set up her own record label ‘Never Fade’ which suggests she might not be bought by that industry and her influences seem to hold some promise. Despite the similar tone with English Rain there is a lot of space for her to play around with for her next venture and it’s almost like she has done her difficult second album with her first. As long as it isn’t exactly the same as the first it can only improve so don’t judge her just yet. But the album individually is a little repetitive in several areas as you can tell from me repeating myself writing this and when you detatch yourself from the ‘cute girl with a guitar’ theme she’s been saddled with; then the music is a little dry. But as i’ve said she has a great voice that she could do a lot with in the future.

Gabrielle Aplin – English Rain = 5.5/10

Images from /


  1. caityhalligan17 says:

    Reblogged this on The Music Mix.

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