REVIEW: Lapalux ‘When You’re Gone’
The warm, prolonged breath between when pursed lips pull away from sensitive nape of a neck. The sensation of the first rain of the summer, as it hits skin. The gentle tug of a shirt collar as it gets caught on the dress of a partner. The soft caress of cotton as it passes the inner borders of a finger. The screech of nails on a chalk board. The never ending regret of something that once was. And the all too familiar feeling of encompassing loneliness as one sits solemnly in uninhibited retrospective solitude. All fragile subtleties that Lapalux has here and in the past, elicited throughout his multimodal, brilliant song-craft. ‘When You’re Gone’ a deep, delicate and at times painfully tender release feels more of a stanza-less poem than something that should be heard through headphones. While in the past, yes, Lapalux has shown us his chops with space and noise but now, more than ever, he comes to us with his heart open and his soul personified through his mixing board.
Stuart Howard, the man behind the moniker, has done something here unlike on his previous release ‘Many Faces Out Of Focus,’ he seems to have made a sentient decision to completely let us, the listeners, enter his mind. And as corny as it may sound, it is in fact an incontrovertible truth. The samples used and vocal progression displayed, at times, feels almost splayed across the rhythmic tambour; shutter and fluctuate amidst wistful synthetic chords of both regretful seclusion and delight. Through these elements Howard speaks to us. He doesn’t need vocals to do so, rather he projects both his feelings and emotions through the hewed and curtailed samples Lapalux utilizes throughout the production of songs like that of “Yellow 90’s” and “Moments (feat. PY).”
As humans, these elements resonate with us. Well, at least they do with me. I get the feeling of nostalgia when coming in contact with “Yellow 90’s.” Personally, (and I know you all could probably care less about this but humor me please, it’s cathartic) it brings me back to a time when running through cold sprinklers in the haze of the filtered summer sun was the daily routine and catching the popsicle man before he so readily rounded the corner of my block into the unknown provinces of the world outside of my childish comprehension, was the only primary anxiety. And for that Mr. Howard deserves credit, if not from all of us, then just from me.
Moving, for just a second, from cadence based nostalgia which encompasses “Yellow 90’s” to the clement embrace of “Moments (feat. PY),” puts me at a crossroads of sorts. On the one hand I have a song that means so much to me in terms of childhood and on the other, one that resonates with me now as an adult. The opening of, “Moments (feat. PY)” although sentimental put’s me on a level of regretting past relationships and almost drowning in the lost chances I’ve had with those who I once deeply cared for but now seem to be only strangers lost in the blurry ether of life’s temporal dissonance (<= Oh poor me, ugh, I’m sorry about that last sentence…). As insufferable as it may make me sound, that’s the truth. “Moments (feat. PY)” is not supposed to make us feel good, it’s not happy music. It’s a song that makes us contemplate the decisions we’ve made in the past, at least that’s what I’m assuming. Maybe I shouldn’t do that so much. Meh. Whatever, no regrets right?
The rest of the release, with special emphasis on “Gutter Glitter” leaves us with these feelings as well. It builds us up, perpetuating the feeling of elation and sprightful exuberance and at the drop of an auditory hat; ‘When You’re Gone’ crushes us underneath its almost vindictive breadth and conscious regretful contempt. But I don’t forsake ‘When You’re Gone’ for this, I needed this, we all need this at some point in our life. Don’t we? Now let’s brush ourselves, move forward, and thank Stuart Howard for facilitating both personal affirmation and humility. Thank you Lapalux for making me feel ten different shades of strange.