Dead Oceans’ newest signing, Bristol, UK-based Fenne Lily, will release her sophomore album, BREACH, on September 18th. Today, she offers the defining moment on the record, “Berlin,” a careful, beautiful declaration celebrating comfort in being alone. Following the lead single/video “Alapathy,” which featured “drums and guitar [that] deliver high impact at accelerated speed” (Stereogum), “Berlin” slowly unfurls with a hushed-yet-powerful energy. With minimal lyrics, Fenne repeats “it’s not hard to be alone anymore,” backed by Lucy Dacus and Ali Chant. It was written during her time alone in Berlin after her third reading of Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and a solo voyage to the nightclub Berghain. The accompanying lyric video, created by Henry Dunbar, is composed of narrative, black and white animation. Fenne elaborates on the track and video below:
“When I was 21 I spent a month alone in Berlin. While I was there, I recorded everything I did as a voice note or in a sketchbook, even if it was boring. On the plane ride home, my phone packed up and I lost all my song ideas from my trip. Initially, it felt as though I’d lost a part of my brain, but gradually pieces started to come back to me. To help the remembering process, I tried to picture all the things that surrounded me during my time alone in Berlin. The more I pictured these mundane objects, the more lost ideas I could remember. This song was one of these ideas. When it came to deciding on a video for it, I’d recently had a dream about an illustrated man eating his own brain for breakfast and, on the same day, was introduced to Henry’s animated short film ‘Pollock’. His work and my dream were impossible to ignore in their similarities and so this video was born. It reflects both the comfort and claustrophobia of the everyday, and how company can be found in everything when you’re left with only yourself and an alien place. The umbrella made me cry – I kind of hope it helps you do the same.”
BREACH is a diaristic, frequently sardonic record that deals with the mess and the catharsis of entering your 20s and finding peace while being alone. She wrote it after a disjointed experience of touring Europe, and her time in Berlin. Although its subject matter is solitude, it sounds bigger and more intricate than Fenne’s debut On Hold, which “recalls the early works of Sharon Van Etten, particularly in the way [Fenne] layers her own voice during choruses that ache and swoon” (NPR Music).