This year has seen many of us being forced into an isolation of the type we have never experienced, bringing us many challenges both personally and professionally. Fenne Lily on the other hand is not new to this way of life. BREACH her second album, following her 2018 debut, On Hold, was written in a self imposed isolation, before the pandemic even hit. The record is full of cynicism but draws great comfort from the equanimity that solitude has given her.
The beauty of this album is that despite dealing with a dark past, it offers a light, a ray of hope, and above all a sense of self acceptance. Music and her art has given Lily a way of expressing personal feelings, taking them and turning them into something beautiful.
Lead single from the album ‘Alapathy’ gave us the first experience of this more positive side to Lily’s writing. She said that the insistent percussion mimics the often anxious racing thoughts that she deals with as an overthinker. Alapathy is a made-up word merging ‘apathy’ and ‘allopathic’ (as in westernised medicine). “Western medicine generally treats the symptoms of an illness rather than the cause,” explained Lily previously. The lyric, “To be so bound never looked so free, Allopathic remedies for now,” is the perfect summation of this muddying of mental health symptoms by medication.
Whilst ‘I, Nietzsche’ goes darker lyrically, “And there’s nothing wrong with I, Nietzsche, I spend my life lying down, And there’s nothing wrong but I need you, I’m looking for a reason to drown,” Lily sings. She wrote the song about an ex partner who despite reading a lot of Nietzsche, was one of the least empathetic people she’d ever met.
The body and self image are heavy themes in this album and ‘Solipsism’, one of the heavier tracks, deals with the idea of existing in the mind only. She ponders if other people actually know what is happening around them and if only she sees what she is perceiving. “All these people walk so slow, do they know something I don’t? Focus on a foreign feeling, unashamed and unappealing”.
‘I Used To Hate My Body But Now I Just Hate You’ deals with the break up of a toxic relationship and seeing it for what it was on the other side.
Speaking about the writing of the BREACH, Lily said: “It’s kind of like writing a letter, and leaving it in a book that you know you’ll get out when you’re sad – like a message to yourself in the future.”
It is hard to remember the artist is still only twenty one years old, and like the rest of us, she is still trying to figure out who she is. Someone summed up Lily’s talents nicely on Instagram where they commented “she could sing about a car park and it would still sound beautiful”.
BREACH is a journey of discovering ones self through isolation, failed relationships and introspection. Understanding that dealing with things rather than clouding them out is what moves a person forward and Lily details that message with such aplomb.