Big Picture: Ultramarine Vinyl LPDOC329lp-C1
Label: Dead Oceans
Release Date: 14th April
What a vibe on this record, Fenne has that sweet husk to her voice, it feels like you're sinking into a deep pillowy sofa on a spring morning. It's an album built for comfort found post-anxiety and it really sounds it as the songs thrum and gently swing, with a tender depth to the depth of the playing. Really lovely.
For those who dig: Melina Dutere, Kate Kirby and Christian Lee Hutson all help make the sound of this record, so them, I guess. Tomberlin and may aswell Phoebe Bridgers for good measure.
A gorgeous and gripping portrait of Fenne’s last two years, Big Picture was pieced together in an effort to self-soothe. Tracked live in co-producer Brad Cook’s North Carolina studio, the album delineates the phases of love and becomes a map of comfort vs claustrophobia. Though its creation took place amid personal and global turmoil, the ruminative yet candid Big Picture is Fenne’s most cohesive, resolute work to date, both lyrically and sonically. “This isn’t a sad album — it’s about as uplifting as my way of doing things will allow,” she says. “These songs explore worry and doubt and letting go, but those themes are framed brightly.” With confidence and quiet strength, each track provides an insight into Fenne’s ever-changing view of love and, ultimately, its redefinition — love as a process, not something to be lost and found. While the album was written alone in Fenne’s Bristol flat – a fact intentionally reflected in its compact sonic quality – Big Picture was transformed from a solitary venture into a unifying collaboration during the recording process when she was joined by her touring band, Melina Dutere of Jay Som (mixing), Christian Lee Hutson (guitar and co production), and Katy Kirby (vocals). Notably, these 10 songs are Fenne’s first and only to have been written over the course of a relationship; 2018’s On Hold and 2020’s BREACH both confront the pain of retrospection, saying goodbye to a love that’s gone. Big Picture does the exact opposite — rooted firmly in the present, it traces the narrative of two people trying their hardest not to implode, together. “This album is an observation of the way I think about love, the selfexamination that comes with closeness and the responsibilities involved in being a big part of someone else’s small(er) world,” summarizes Fenne. “It was written in a place of relative emotional stability – stability that felt unstable because of its newness, but also because of the global context. 2020 was the year of letting go, but we’d all already let go of so much and nothing felt like mine anymore. Writing always did, though, so that’s what I chose to do.”