BREACH by Fenne Lily: A Study in Solitude

Fenne Lily’s BREACH (yes, stylized in all caps) has the introspective late autumn musings we need right now—and some serious fall style inspiration on the cover, too. As her second album and her first release with indie label Dead Oceans, BREACH cements her position as a rising creative powerhouse in the indie world.

The album was born after Lily voluntarily isolated herself in Berlin for a month, coincidentally before the global pandemic lockdowns. Her account of her solitary experience twists and turns between the benefits and pitfalls of learning to be alone. Between Lily’s fluttery, light, and raspy vocals and her variance between distorted electric guitar indie rock and a raw acoustic sound, this album showcases that she can do it all. The specificity of her lyrics draws the listener straight into her (very wrinkly) brain and paints the image that she is on her way to truly knowing herself.

The intensity of her environment forced Lily to turn inward, resulting in some incredibly potent storytelling lyrics. On my favorite song on the album, “I Used To Hate My Body But Now I Just Hate You”, Lily responds to a phone call from an ex, singing, “I crush your paper back to the receiver/I learned that trick from a cartoon kid/It’s always something I wanted to try”. It’s a slow rock song about parting with toxic relationships and using childhood cartoons as diversion tactics, and it hits the spot. Her writing feels familiar and carries a self-assured nostalgia—likely a result of her experiment with her own solipsism.

Lily’s lyrics are perhaps the best aspect of this album, although the musicality of the distorted, upbeat electric guitars on “Alapathy” and “Solipsism”—two fantastic titles—give them a run for their money. The poetic final track, “Laundry and Jet Lag”, floats in the air like a lullaby and sonically recalls Passenger’s All the Little Lights (if it were written by a 23-year-old girl in voluntary isolation). She softly sings, after referencing her smoking habit, “Not all propensities come with a warning, like you”. She closes the song, and the album, with the lines, “Washing my clothes as soon as I’m home/Ridding myself of the dirt from your room/Losing the smell of the smoke in the bars/Stains go away but I’m left with the scars, of you”.

Sob! It’s art! Fenne Lily’s fantastic metaphors and soft, sad, but still head-bopping tunes make BREACH my current favorite album to play while watching the Nashville leaves crisp and turn orange.

You can stream Fenne Lily’s BREACH below.