BRISTOL is a city that has really pulled its weight in modern musical culture; there’s no need to list all those paradigm-shifters that have come from the Avon Valley.
One of the rising stars of the Bristol scene, 2020 vintage, is the Dorset-born singer-songwriter Fenne Lily, who has shared the video for “To Be A Woman Pt. 2”, on Indiana’s excellent Dead Oceans label.
She grew up with her mother’s record collection, falling for the strange genius of PJ Harvey and worshipping Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and Feist, inspiring her to pick up a guitar.
“To Be A Woman Pt. 2” begins as a hushed shuffle, gentle guitars and Fenne’s soft tones, before breaking out in downward strums and cautionary lyrics; playground found sounds. The guitar builds to a snarl, and reins back in again. She’s cautionary, sore, whispering. “Oh, don’t you let him” is her refrain.
It’s about that emotional nausea that comes from knowing you’re in the wrong company, she says. “It’s raw and furious, coming from a place of frustration and pain born from a loss of control and a breach of trust.
” “It’s time for me to be loud if I wanna be loud and not feel like I’m gonna piss anyone off,” she adds.
Her self-released debut LP, 2018’s On Hold, has a quietly transatlantic reach. Her vocal grace is in the same hushed confessorial ballpark as Cat Power’s Cian Marshall, the louder fuzz guitar punch of erstwhile near-neighbour Polly Jean at others; in her quieter moments, all the delicacy of Vashti Bunyan or This is the Kit.
The coronavirus saw off a wide-ranging tour, including American dates with Waxahatchee. Let’s get behind a new South West talent when this all lifts and she can get back out there.
Fenne Lily’s new album, Breach, is forthcoming on Dead Oceans. You can keep up to date with her a https://www.fennelily.com/