Leah Capelle – Joshua
Joshua is the title of Leah Capelle’s second release. The three song EP is a great sophomore effort after her self-titled first album, an EP as well, brought her reams of critical attention. Her songwriting is surrounded with an air of reflection and enormous sensitivity. She works with top flight production talent to realize her artistic goals and there’s a seamlessness of presentation surrounding her performances that will appeal to a broad based musical audience. Joshua’s brief running time is no sign that it’s an insignificant work. Capelle’s songwriting talents cover every base and have a depth outstripping many of her contemporaries working the same style. She’s quite gifted with the ability to embody each line of the songs and never settles for an uniform vocal approach – rarely does she sing a refrain the same way twice and her phrasing often takes compelling twists. Joshua is the work of a consummate performer and singer/songwriter.
The title number begins things on a tempered, but sweeping, note. “Joshua” is a character study that reveals as much about the vocalist as the song’s subject. The plethora of details she supplies listeners with makes this a bracing storytelling experience in miniature, but it’s the fact that she possessed the eye for marking down what others less invested in the moment might have deemed immaterial. Her passionate invocation of these elements makes for an equally thrilling experience and the way she moves through verses and choruses alike brings added spice to the song’s dramatic construction. The instrumentation is never laid on too thick; the gentle melodicism of the guitars weaves well with authoritative percussion and steady bass playing.
“Out Now” continues the intensely personal themes of Capelle’s songwriting. She has a trademark-able style with her approach to songwriting emphasizing dramatic qualities, but the contrasts are starker here than elsewhere. The shift from gently wrought verses into much grander choruses is handled very well, but the lyrics for this track aren’t nearly as impactful as those on the title song. “Who I Am” recovers some mojo in the lyric department and certainly rocks out much harder than anything else on the EP. The guitars, however, never stretch or strain too far for effect, but they do bring some added grit to the track. The lyrics certainly go all-in on the expected theme affirming one’s self, but they never rely too heavily on the clichés so often plaguing songwriting in this vein. She goes in for the same pattern of song construction as well, energetic verses building to big screen choruses, but pulls it off again with such charisma that you’ll forgive any predictability. If it is predictable, it’s the most pleasing kind. Leah Capelle’s second release, Joshua, is an EP, but it’s an EP carrying the same weight as many full length releases and the well-crafted songwriting is a must hear for anyone interested in stylish Americana. It’s a professional and artistic accomplishment she should be proud of.
8 out of 10 stars