Leah Capelle – Joshua
The warm intimacy of this recording draws listeners immediately in, but it’s Leah Capelle’s voice and lyrics that keep them around. Rarely do musical arrangements, words, and voice so completely complement one another. Leah Capelle’s second release, a three cut EP called Joshua, is an effort of immense musical excellence and rare focus. The trio of songs she’s included with this work are fully realized and her voice is the guiding spirit behind each glittering melody or flawless instrumental turn. Her presence, more so than any overt flowering of her technical talents, is the primary thing most listeners will take away from her performances. She completely inhabits these lyrics and the steady pressure she brings to bear on these songs produces entertaining and emotionally fulfilling results. It is clear this is music of a personal nature, but Capelle never closes listeners out of those experiences and brings them into her world with graceful artistry.
The graceful artistry is quite apparent on the first song. “Joshua”, the album’s title cut, is the EP’s marquee number and illustrates why shortly after it starts. There’s such an abundance of musical and lyrical detail here that this song will win over, in short order, all but the hardest of hearts. Capelle’s voice amply shows how much the emotional experience of this song means to her and her technical skills as a vocalist are unimpeachable. The drumming is key to the song’s success as well thanks to how expertly it orchestrates the song’s steady rise and the bell-clear ringing out of the guitar work during the performance greatly enhances the song’s melodic values. The song has the right length to make an strong impression on listeners without ever droning on too long. “Out Now” is a very personal track, much more so than the opener, and has a delicacy that even the carefully composed parts in “Joshua” lack. It shows the same focus that sets the opening number apart from similar efforts in this vein from others, but its artfully juxtaposed light and more cluttered passages employ a different approach, more nuanced, than we heard during the opener. Capelle’s voice wonderfully adjusts to the song’s different vocal demands while still lining up squarely in the inclinations set down by the first song.
“Who I Am” ends Joshua on a resounding high. The introduction of outright rock influences and sounds into the mix for an outstanding finale that, despite its different attitude, fits in quite well with everything that’s preceded it. Capelle’s voice is more than up to the task of matching the rough-hewn guitar work and the percussion work places an emphatic exclamation point on the song as a whole. Leah Capelle has scored in a big way with this release – she’s building her career like she does songs, incrementally, one step at a time. This release is an outstanding and thoughtful second step in a career with a long and undoubtedly successful view ahead. The three songs on Joshua do a remarkable job of packing an enormous amount of experience into a relatively confined space.
9 out of 10 stars