Fenne Lily: Big Picture (Dead Oceans) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 5th, 2023  

Fenne Lily

Big Picture

Dead Oceans

Apr 13, 2023 Issue #71 - Weyes Blood and Black Belt Eagle Scout Bookmark and Share

From the beginning, isolation has always run deep within the songwriting of UK musician Fenne Lily. However, on her latest record, Big Picture, Lily’s isolation draws from a universal experience. The album finds Lily documenting the aftermath of 2020, trying to draw truth and meaning from the wreckage.

The upheaval of the pandemic acts as the constant specter of loneliness and loss, one that is balanced against the other change in Lily’s life, a new relationship. Whereas her previous records found Lily faced with the challenge of building her own identity amidst grief and heartache, Big Picture offers a more settled album wherein love is a temporal and precious gem, even when surrounded by a maelstrom of worry and doubt.

As a result, there’s a gentle glow and resonant undercurrent to these songs. Unsurprisingly, Lily’s songwriting remains intimate and her voice is hushed and ethereal, but she also shares glimpses of a playful and charming side that has too often been hidden. Lead single “Lights Light Up” brims with crackling energy, while opener “Map of Japan” swells and soars, carried high on the resolute stomp of guitars. Elsewhere, “Pick” offers a driving change of pace with a chugging rhythm and flashes of golden guitar tones.

Even the record’s more meditative moments often come with an enveloping sense of peace, as with the loping balladry of “In My Own Time” or the gentle folk charms of “Red Deer Day.” The latter track encapsulates the record’s lighter touch as Lily addresses a past lover, singing “Just because it hasn’t gone to plan/Doesn’t mean it has gone to waste/Picture me whatever way you can/Remembering has a place.” On Big Picture, heartache is just another part of the tapestry of human experience, one that is just essential as joy.

Oftentimes, change for an artist comes in a matter of degrees, infinitesimal shifts in sound and perspective that you can only truly see when looking back. That isn’t the case with Big Picture. The record is the most full, warm, and light Lily’s songwriting has ever felt. Befitting its title, Lily’s scope seems wider than before, yet just as focused and intimate. Her songs bring to mind the visual of the album cover: a tiny self-contained vignette of a moment in time, brought to life in loving detail. (www.fenne-lily.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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