With dip-dyed pink hair and cover art reminiscent of a kaleidoscope, Gabrielle Aplin is inching away from her usual acoustic style, toward the upbeat, mainstream pop scene. The English rose’s new EP, entitled Miss You, experiments with synths and a dance-like feel while also delivering the simplicity and purity we know and love.
The title track of Aplin’s EP begins with a piano introduction before launching into a heavily syncopated dance beat that’ll make you subconsciously tap your feet. Miss You has a borderline Caribbean feel, all thanks to the steel drum sounds that almost seem out of place yet tie everything together. It then comes the time for that signature pop hook and I can assure you, it doesn’t disappoint. Aplin’s high register really shines as she declares “Oh God, I miss you too” while the instrumental thins out. The best part of this already catchy chorus is undoubtedly the five consecutive punchy beats that will catch anyone by surprise the first time they hear them. This is definitely a song that’ll stay stuck in your head for quite some time.
The second track on Aplin’s EP, Night Bus, continues with the dance-pop genre but is a bit mediocre in comparison to Miss You. It’s a fairly decent song but something always feels a little off with the juxtaposition between the mostly offbeat vocal rhythm and the straight metered percussion. It’s quite a clever idea in theory, but it could have been better executed. The bridge has some beautiful swelling backing vocals but it’s effect is lessened with the constant clock-like ticking in the background that really could have been left out of the entire song.
We then make our way to the glorious and almost ethereal sounds of Run For Cover. Like a bird in the sky, Aplin’s voice floats effortlessly over the melodic phrasing, needing only the sound of smooth and silky strings to keep her in the air. Although simplistic, this song is by far my favourite on the EP. The small scoops and inflections in the vocal line send shivers through my spine and show off Aplin’s breathy tone. The last chorus is an uplifting serenade with thicker and lusher strings that leave you drowning in sound.
She finishes with a piano version of Miss You that offers a completely different take on the title track. Aplin’s voice gives off an almost palpable vulnerability while still exuding such power. The control she has over seemingly small vocal expressions makes all the difference by bringing out her poignant lyrics and making us feel as if we are a part of this story of hers.
As the young Brit develops her style, we see her slowly separating from her English Rain influences, but not completely. While Aplin toys with a new sound it’s pleasing to hear that she is still holding on to her roots and doing what she does best.
Featured Image Credit: Genius