Leah Capelle - Joshua
The second EP release from Chicago headquartered singer/songwriter Leah Capelle, Joshua, is a luminous gem-sized marvel. This three song outing finds Capelle further refining the qualities distinguishing her first release and often evolving in deeper, emotionally resonate ways. The top flight production job on the album presents these songs in the best possible sonic light and does an excellent job placing Capelle’s compelling voice against these musical landscapes. While many three song EP’s might feel or seem a little slight in terms of what they offer their intended audience, Joshua never lacks for emotional and musical heft. Capelle doesn’t restrict herself to a narrow range of musical textures; instead, this brief release manages to touch on an impressive variety of sounds without ever sounding like it is losing its way somehow. Capelle, however, remains at the center of it all and her voice defines every performance with its combination of technical savvy and emotional depth.
Both of those aforementioned attributes are on display with the EP’s first song. Capelle’s title song is a glorious stew of insightful lyrical observation, stunning details, and an investment of feeling few contemporary singers can hope to match. She is a breathlessly fine interpreter of her own writing, but she’s equally a magnificent singer who gets the most she can from a musical arrangement. She entwines her vocal with what the players offer up and their lockstep chemistry makes this a memorable listening experience. She keeps things gracefully brief as a songwriter, but it’s so skillfully handled that these relatively brief compositions don’t feel restricted in any way by their length. Instead, it’s a testament to her talents that she’s been able to condense such complex experiences on deceptively limited canvases. The EP’s second track “Out Now” has a much more deliberate sounding musical arrangement but hangs together quite well. The lyrics and tenderness of Capelle’s vocal certainly suggest a much more overtly personal air than the first track, which has a subject outside of the songwriter, but even the suggestion of this rather than the reality shows an artistry few performers possess and even fewer still capitalize on so effectively. Her deft ability as a singer to alternate between intimacy and open-hearted inspiration is put to its best use on this track as well. Much like the opener, “Out Now” doesn’t run on too long, but it manages to suggest and present much more in its allotted time than what you might presuppose as a listener.
Joshua concludes with the rockier strains of “Who I Am”. This is a heel stomping rock and roll number with some country-like elements thrown in for good measure, but nothing is ever handled cheaply here. This is handled, instead, with the same immeasurable sincerity and passion defining the preceding songs and feels consciously, but never clumsily, fashioned as a closing number. There’s no question, as well, that these songs are built for the stage and probably no single track embodies that better than the final song. Joshua is a stunning success for this singer/songwriter and shows evidence there’s no appreciable end to the promise she shows.
9 out of 10 stars