Premiere: Bess Atwell Debuts New Single "Co-op" | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Premiere: Bess Atwell Debuts New Single “Co-op”

"Co-op" Is Out Now On Lucy Rose's Real Kind Records

Mar 01, 2021
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English singer/songwriter Bess Atwell is quickly becoming one of the most exciting new voices in English folk. With luminous vocals and pastoral instrumentation, she recalls Laura Marling or Julia Jacklin’s folk style filtered through Lana Del Rey’s summery haze. After debuting in 2019 with her Big Blue EP, Atwell has returned, now signed to Lucy Rose’s Real Kind Records and working on her upcoming sophomore release. Atwell has also shared her first single from the record, “Co-op,” premiering with Under the Radar.

In true folk fashion, Atwell is a storyteller first. With “Co-op” Atwell conjures vignettes of a life spent together, diving into both the comforting refuge of love and mundane routines that arise over time. Atwell paints these with a poetic specificity as she thinks back to the pop song her partner sings as he leaves the co-op or a hard conversation outside a Blondie tribute concert. Like the best songwriters, she imbues these small moments with a resonant power, made all the more effective by the rippling instrumentation and the gentle yearning lilt of her vocals.

The accompanying video, directed by Atwell and shot by George Ogilvie, directly calls back to the lyric “half your furniture we found on the street outside.” As Atwell explains, I didn’t want to be too on-the-nose by shooting the video in a supermarket, but I also didn’t want to shy away from that bold imagery, so I came up with the concept of shopping for memories/home comforts. The video attempts to marry two worlds at odds with each other - the mundane and the emotional - by contrasting the props, outfit, and setting.”

Atwell says of the song, “Flipping between past and present tense, I think of this song the same way I think of a memory that keeps interrupting the current moment. It’s a snapshot of a time of refuge and routine.”

“It’s an illustration of mine and my partner’s life together. The relationship seemed to provide me with some sort of permission to recuperate from family trauma, as if realising for the first time that there was a life outside of that chaos lulled me into an emotional slumber. Through the song I grapple with the desire for, and fear of, comfort. I used references to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway to depict a vivid nostalgia and an affinity for trivialities that serve to calm when darker thoughts set in.” Check out the song and video below.


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