As debut albums go, I can’t remember one that has been as hotly anticipated as this one. Not in the last few years, at any rate.
The frenzy of public opinion that Gabrielle Aplin built up over Christmas with her soundtrack to the now festive John Lewis ad was something to behold.
She became a famous name pretty much overnight after the first airing of the ad, followed by the press coverage that followed.
But high expectations come with such notoriety and pressure, so all eyes are on Aplin to deliver the goods.
The 20-year-old has not come to the music business at the drop of a hat, though, and has been preparing for this big moment for at least the last five years. At just 17 she set up her own record label, Never Fade Records, and went on to release three EPs. These weren’t just a fleeting teenaged affair either; all of them charted on iTunes and got decent reviews.
So bring on English Rain. The Power of Love is the go-to track, though it does seem oddly out of place to accept what would normally be a Christmas song in early May. Better vibes come from Please Don’t Say You Love Me, the follow-up single that reached number 6 in the charts. And there is no disappointment either from forthcoming single Panic Cord, which kicks the new album off.
Elsewhere, take a listen to How Do You Feel Today, Salvation and Alive. It is a quality album which has the feeling of a Joni Mitchell record running right through it.
Aplin has been songwriting since she was 15 years old, growing up as she did in a self-confessed hippy household and listening to the likes of Mitchell for influence. Even though she’s only five years into her writing career, Aplin has the maturity to acknowledge that there is no golden formula to penning good songs.
She said: ‘It can take minutes, hours or weeks. Each one is different. But I’ve been working on this album now for months. And I can’t wait for everyone to finally hear it.’ Aplin’s tour of the UK and Ireland in March sold out completely, making the gigs in her October/November tour the hottest tickets to get hold of.