Bleach Lab: Lost in a Rush of Emptiness (Nettwerk) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Bleach Lab

Lost in a Rush of Emptiness

Nettwerk

Sep 27, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


After an impressive series of singles and EPs, the London-based band Bleach Lab showcase their musical and lyrical prowess throughout their stunning, glittering, and often emotional debut album. If the current music landscape was less fragmented, then in time perhaps Lost in a Rush of Emptiness could become as beloved as The Sundays’ debut album, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. It’s undeniably infused with that same kind of glittering, wistful melancholy, as Jenna Kyle’s beautiful, emotive vocals seamlessly blend with Frank Wates’ iridescent guitar licks.

The album also demonstrates Bleach Lab’s talent for capturing emotions with graceful understatement and poetic beauty. While it undeniably carries themes of heartbreak and isolation influenced in part by loss and toxic relationships, it also serves as a soothing balm for the soul, both for the listener and, one suspects, for the songwriters.

The album opens with the impressive “All Night,” where Kyle intones, “Tell me everything will be fine/I’ll be yours tonight, you know it feels right.” Initially, it presents itself as a straightforward love song, brimming with passion and yearning. However, upon closer examination, a slightly sinister undertone emerges, where lust can teeter into obsession. More so when you discover that Kyle wrote the lyrics after being inspired by true crime documentaries and podcasts. As she explained, “I really wanted to write lyrics that, at first few listens, could be perceived simply as romantic, someone deeply in love…but on the second or third listen, the listener picks up on the darker themes.”

The evocative “Indigo,” with its Cure-esque guitars, allows Kyle’s vocals to glide effortlessly over the top, like a calming summer breeze, initially transporting the listener to a place of calm serenity. However, once again, the tone shifts into a darker realm as Kyle sings of the sky turning indigo, with darkening strings serving as a harbinger of gathering storm clouds.

The bruised grandeur of “Counting Empties” again tackles themes of isolation and dysfunctional relationships, this time candidly examining how abusing alcohol can impact on romantic and personal relationships. “Everything At Once” is another sparkling gem and has a hint of Wolf Alice, which by definition is always a great thing, while the disorientating “Nothing Left to Lose” has an undercurrent of shimmering, swaggering menace.

Heartbreak and loss walk hand in hand throughout the album, but there’s anger too, such as on “Smile For Me,” which Kyle describes as “one of the most empowering but challenging songs to write on the album.” As she explained, “Something I hear so often as a woman in public is being told to ‘cheer up, love,’ if I’m not immediately, positively responsive to an unknown person’s advances. It’s completely deflating, infuriating, and humiliating.”

It’s a perfectly judged collection of songs, and despite the melancholy, there’s no sense of navel-gazing or self pity. Lost in a Rush of Emptiness is an album that ultimately celebrates resilience and hope. It’s a beautiful debut from an immensely talented band. (www.bleachlab.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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