When you listen to Leah Pape’s recent album Not What I Meant you can't but help see images of her playing these songs at a coffee shop or an open mic. It fits nice and snug into the melancholy singer/songwriter genre, as the eight songs here are simply her voice and her guitar with no noticeable overdubs. Suffice it to say the lyrics and her voice is the most important component of the music.
Let’s get it out of the way that Pape is talented. She has a dynamic voice and I found it to be warm, versatile and not overly cute. On top of that I found her lyrics to be well written and often engaging. With that being said I’d be lying if getting through eight melancholy songs of just her and her guitar was a bit rough. A harmonica, additional strings, organ, anything on a couple of the songs would have helped to create a bit of variation amongst the sounds.
My only other issue with album was the production; In particular the dynamics. A compressor on her voice would have helped but the bigger issue was the difference in volume from track to track (something that proper mastering would have resolved). I found myself having to constantly adjust the volume knob, which takes away from the fluidity of the album.
Amongst the batch of songs there a couple of highlights that come to mind. “Passing Craze,” “The Spin” and “The Long Drive” are all notable songs.
To be honest there isn't much more that needs to be said about this release. It’s a girl with a guitar with a lot of heart playing music. There are a number of improvements to be made but she is off to a solid start.
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