Album Review: Fenne Lily – ‘BREACH’
Posted: by The Editor
Fenne Lily’s second album, BREACH, finds the Bristol-based musician coming into her own with a confident collection of tunes that are infectious and catchy while her lyrics bluntly detail past relationships, smoking habits, and the everyday mundane. Lily and her surrounding cast of musicians float comfortably between delicate acoustic numbers and grittier tunes while allowing listeners space to take everything in and catch the more biting lyrical turns.
It’s hard not to take note of the pair of songs titled “Berlin” and “I, Nietzsche” on side one of the record, and both songs fit the brooding introspection often associated with reading philosopher Friedrich Nietzshce’s work. Lily sings “it’s not hard to be alone anymore” or “Berlin,” a slow burner that builds to enormity over a fuzzed-out guitar before pulling back to just Lily and one guitar over the last phrase.
“I, Nietzsche” looks back on a past relationship, commenting “I rarely get that hunger anymore,” but the real kicker caps off in the last verse. The chorus is instantly catchy and repetitive enough for you to probably be able to sing along by the last time Lily repeats “I’m looking for a reason to drown” over a lush mix of guitars and organ.
Side one of the album closes with “Birthday,” another excellent track with straightforward, cutting lyrics and an explosive chorus. Gorgeous strings and vocals by Lucy Dacus and Ali Chant back up Lily in the chorus, making for one of the album’s more memorable moments.
“Solipsism” adds some bounce to the second side of the record, being the only song on the project that can be described as more in the neighborhood of “rock” than “indie” (not that these terms mean much at this point). The immediate contrast of “I Used to Hate My Body But Now I Just Hate You” makes the slight shift work all the more. With an earworm melody and opening line “I met you in November for a weekend / I loved you by December like a fool”, it’s a standout track on an album with no lowpoints.
“Someone Else’s Trees” also makes itself noticed with Lily and Ali Chant harmonizing again over rolling, finger picked acoustic guitars and a haunting vibraphone. With the lyrics, Lily brings back the existentialism and general confronting-of-the-world that hangs over the abum, singing in the chorus, “I’m not afraid to die, more so to be alive / I know and this and more, I’m not alone.” It’s a morbidly beautiful song, reminiscent of Seven Swans/Greeting From Michigan-era Sufjan Stevens.
Existential crises get a bad name in pop culture and the discourse, but the feelings of calm and growth that come out of them are what make them valuable. On BREACH, Fenne Lily takes her early twenties head-on and comes out confident and enlightened; accepting of her experiences and how they’ve shaped her. As the album closes and strings slowly join Lily’s deliberately light vocals and acoustic guitars, it feels like a quiet, contemplative walk or bus ride home at night. Which, coincidentally, sounds like the perfect time to listen to this record.
Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great / Phenomenal
Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject
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