Following on the heels of her self-titled debut EP, Lean Capelle has returned with another EP release. The three song outing entitled Joshua reaffirms the immense talent demonstrated on the first release while also building on it with an excellent follow-up expanding her songwriting range and tackling new musical challenges. Anyone who became a Capelle fan on the basis of the debut will find nothing here to change their minds. It’s the next step in journey she’s pursued since age six, through higher music education, and into a professional career that’s already seen her earn considerable critical plaudits from a number of sources. There’s emotional and lyrical complexity abounding from this collection – Capelle has a well honed sense for getting to the heart of what a particular performance demands with no nonsense style aiming to realize the composition’s potential. It’s a potent approach and pays off with a real winner of a release.
The title song “Joshua” reflects the EP’s philosophy of concise songwriting and a tight focus on melody. These aren’t overly simplified melodies; instead, they are direct, accessible, and give just the right amount of lift to each song. It arguably succeeds better on this performance than at any other point on the EP. There’s a steady, patient rise from the opening and airy electric guitars accentuate the song’s melodic line without ever overstepping their function. The choruses are excellent climatic peaks that provide the song with an assortment of exclamation points, but they are never so emphatic that they strike a contrast with the tenor of the verses and instrumental breaks. The lyrics are the finest on the EP. This song has the convincing ring of lived experience transmuted through Capelle’s songwriting imagination – the wealth of vivid detail, the inspired orchestration of various lyric elements, and the conversational eloquence of the piece help it stand out from this trio of artfully handled songs. It’s crowned, however, by a powerful Capelle vocal radiating with warm life and just the right amount of enthusiasm.
The light melodic touch of guitar on “Out Now” is juxtaposed with some urgent percussion that builds to all the right crescendos. It has most of the same drive heard in the opener, but she pulls back some of the reins and fixes tightly on invoking atmospherics that the first song doesn’t make much use of. Comparing the crystalline feel of the verses with the passionate chorus makes for a great tune. Capelle pursues a strong rock vibe on the finale “Who I Am” but never goes in for cliché despite the relatively common place title. It is an assertion of identity, but never heavy handed, and definitely inspires without ever flirting with melodrama. Leah Capelle’s second release is an emphatic collection of tracks that makes an enormously good impression and shows clear development over her first release. Leah Capelle has the skills and decision making talents of someone in this world for the long haul and one can only imagine the powerful results that will ensue when she turns her attentions to a full length album.
by Lydia Hillenburg