FIRST things first: we’ve got a bit of a crush on Bleach Lab.
The Buckinghamshire dreampop outfit fronted by Jenna Kyle who now call South London home have just dropped one final single ahead of their debut EP, A Calm Sense of Surrounding, out in just ten days; it’s called “Flood”, it’s a heavier confection than their previous brace of tunes – the sweet, Mazzy Star blur of “Never Before” and the blissful glide of “Old Ways”, but a little cracker nevertheless tis; listen for yourself below.
It’s got some of that loose roll of early Ride, loads of space for Jenna to glide across, Frank Wates’ guitars exploring the depths in scald and shimmer of the most deliciously shoegazey kind.
“Flood is one long metaphor for being completely overwhelmed and overcome by someone and losing all sense of control within them,” Jenna explains.
“I sing ‘I’m in his words, I’m in his mouth, I’m in his mind’ to get across how absorbed I was by them, much like how the sand soaks up a wave.”
The EP is a sonic investigation of two traumatic experiences of grief in the band: the death of bassist Josh Longman’s father and the breakdown of Jenna’s long-term relationship. The band write the lyrics together, and employed a conceptual starting point of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross theory of the five stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Bleach Lab then explores the huge spectrum of emotions that lay hidden inside this five-stage reductive notion, using the sea as a recurring metaphor.
Step forward sublime guitarist Frank Wates, whose guitar ripples, soothes and crashes like the waves.
“When you think about it, water has so many different characteristics,” he says. “It can resemble calm, tranquillity and slowness.
“Yet it can also be utterly terrifying – waves that dwarf you, ships desperate to stay afloat, dangerous predators unknowingly swimming under your feet.
“We felt this was similar to the whole mess of emotions which grief exposes you to and it subconsciously seeped into our lyrics and soundscapes.”
For much of the EP, the harsh nature of grief means Bleach Lab find themselves at the perils of the sea, tossed around; but they’re able to reach the final stage of grief, acceptance, -and from there chart a course back to land.
Bleach Lab’s A Calm Sense of Surrounding will be released across all digital streaming platforms on March 19th.