“We owe quite a lot to the pandemic,” is a sentence you may not have expected to hear from one of London’s newest upcoming bands. But for the atmospheric ‘sad-core’ indie band Bleach Lab, this unprecedented opportunity to ponder over their biggest goals and ambitions could not have come at a better time. “It’s been a blessing very heavily in disguise,” says vocalist Jenna Kyle and as we chat to the band over Zoom, a quiet sense of confidence exudes from all four members who, with thanks to the pandemic, are now more coherently aligned than ever.
Brimming with 90s reverb-fuelled nostalgia, it’s been two years since Bleach Lab unveiled their debut single ‘Heartache of the Season’. Speaking to Clash, the band tell us that they’ve been exploring new musical possibilities together over Zoom. “It has been frustrating trying to screen share all our Logics,” says bass player Josh Longman, “but it’s no secret that we’ve been writing new music.”
Their debut EP ‘A Calm Sense Of Surrounding’ is set for release on March 19th. Fusing a myriad of musical influences from Mazzy Star to Wolf Alice, Frank Wates’ Telecaster provides much of the sonic backdrop for the EP while Kyle and Longman’s collaborative lyrical work enhances the record’s depth of character with each track offering a personal exposé around the five stages of grief - anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. “It’s not just the words for me that describe the world that a song is in… I think the music around it is just as important,” says Longman, while Wates adds that their “backwards” songwriting process involving rhythm first then melodies last plays an integral part to their sound.
Longman goes on to explain how the sea was subconsciously explored as a recurring metaphor within the EP’s varying and vivid soundscapes: “People can see water in many different ways; it takes so many different shapes and forms. You can be comforted by it but you can also be drowned by it.” Kyle also theorises that her regular long walks by the seafront may have played a part in the theme of water slipping into the EP and combined with its lyrically grief-stricken essences, these two elements make for a powerful musical combination.
“A lot of the content in the EP is very personal and of course you do question whether you want to put all of that out there in all its glory,” mentions Kyle. But having sat on the material for a while, being able to now let it out in the world, she feels, has offered her a sense of closure from the experiences and emotions she expresses on the record. “It’s important that we have that personal connection with our music for sure… I do feel like I’ve been able to put my thoughts to bed and let them go. It is closure in a sense.”
Bleach Lab’s debut EP, in many ways, is exactly what many of us need in our lives right now – to escape from the uncertainty and chaos of the pandemic and bask in a calmer sense of surrounding. Clearly, this is also resonating with an ever-growing listener base as the band recently sold out a socially distanced show at London’s Moth Club within a mere four hours of its announcement. “I think things are becoming increasingly more positive,” mentions Kyle on the current state of our lockdown-ridden world, and as anticipation for freedom looms ever larger on the horizon, so too, it seems, does Bleach Lab’s likelihood of future success.
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Bleach Lab will release their new EP on March 19th.
Words: Jamie Wilde
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