Video: Lapel, ‘I Lose Myself’

Lapel (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

Social worker turned in-demand touring musician Debbie Neigher, who releases music under the name Lapel, last month released a new EP, “Brutal Joy,” which skillfully blends synth-driven instrumentals with manicured, softly sung vocals that will not disappoint diehard fans of 1980s pop.

Neigher recorded her first album, “Periphery,” in 2018 while teaching music to San Francisco’s unhoused youth. With a talent that could not be ignored, the now L.A.-based artist left social work to become a touring keyboardist and singer for the likes of Demi Lovato, Marina, Ezra Furman, Daya and Suki Waterhouse.

“Brutal Joy” is five tracks of Reagan-era contemporary pop that explores intimate topics such as sexuality, romance, depression and trauma. “I was thinking about when joy is easily accessible in the ether, like a ripe fruit that’s ready to drop,” Neigher says. “But how do you fight for it when you’re alone going through your worst moments?”

The EP was made with producer Andrew Lappin (Anderson .Paak, Marina, L’Rain) and features contributions from drummer Sam Kauffman-Skloff (St. Vincent, Marina, Angel Olsen, the War On Drugs) and bassist Patrick Kelly (St. Vincent, Perfume Genius, Sparks). Neigher’s whimsical description of the EP? “It’s like if Kate Bush, Haim, Phil Collins, Robyn and Tears for Fears all had too much champagne and went on a night drive,” she says with a laugh.

Directed by Caitlin Gerard, the video for the moody and alluring opening track about the thralls of sexual freedom, “I Lose Myself,” cleverly resembles 2016’s dark romance feminist film “The Love Witch.” It was filmed at the Andrew McNally mansion in Altadena.

||| Watch: The video for “I Lose Myself”

||| Also: Stream “Brutal Joy in its entirety