Bleach Lab’s Debut album “Lost in a Rush of Emptiness” Turns Devastation into Beauty

By Justice Petersen

When asked if there was anything about the band that people might not know, singer Jenna Kyle and bassist Josh Longman laughed as they were unable to come up with an answer. It seemed that this lack of answer was the answer; there are no hidden surprises when it comes to Bleach Lab. This openness translates to the chill honesty and raw emotion expressed on the band’s debut album “Lost in a Rush of Emptiness”, released on September 22. Through beautiful artistic expression emulated through passionate lyrics combined with subdued compositions, Bleach Lab’s debut album captures the concept of turning something heart-wrenching and painful into something wonderfully curious.

Alongside Kyle and Longman, who are the band’s primary songwriters, Bleach Lab also consists of Kieran Weston on drums and Frank Wates on guitar. Formed in 2017 in Buckinghamshire, Bleach Lab first began releasing music in 2019. Combining the melancholy of Cigarettes After Sex with the 80s alt-pop influences of The Cure, Bleach Lab’s music sounds like underwater, dreamy, 90s shoegaze. Nostalgic in their sound and emotional in their lyrics, Kyle says they’re often compared to artists like The Cranberries and Phoebe Bridgers.

“I’ve always gone for inspiration from Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Elena Tonra from Daughter…people that write things that I kind of relate to,” Kyle says. “They’re very prolific in writing stories with their lyrics, and I have always been inspired by that. I want to create a clear narrative sometimes when I write.”

Both Kyle and Longman have always preferred to write songs on their own. Often taking inspiration from literature and writing short stories in his spare time to keep his “continuous stream of consciousness” going, Longman got the new album’s title from Leonard Cohen’s book “The Flame”.

Following the isolation from the pandemic, “Lost in a Rush of Emptiness” was written with the entire band in the same room for the first time. As they joined together after this period of loneliness and broke away from their usual methods of separate songwriting, creating this album made the band feel more connected.

“[Recording the album] was a totally new experience for us to be able to do that altogether, cause EP’s have all been recorded quite separately,” Kyle says. “There wasn’t as much collaboration or…there wasn’t as much working together on things in the moment, whereas the album, obviously…at most points we sort of sat pretty much in a circle recording everything, which was super new to us but a really good way of doing things. And I think worked for us.”

“In terms of recording, I don’t think I can see us going back to a different way,” Longman says. “[It’s] so lovely to have all of our reactions live around each other. You can paint music by numbers these days, I think. It’s nice to [have] that human touch and the imperfections can make things just more human. [It] should just be raw when you hear a song and I think with the music we write, it just sounds a lot better for us and works a lot better for us and we have a better time doing it as well.”

Human vulnerability and pure, poetic existence are central themes when it comes to the literary, musical, and visionary aesthetics of Bleach Lab’s work. When it comes to this album, Kyle says she’s inspired by finding beauty in the devastating or unknown.

“I just saw this photo, I think [on] Pinterest or something, of this girl running through what’s maybe a flower shop,” Kyle says. “And it’s sort of a long exposure shot of her running into the darkness through all these flowers. And it kind of sparked a little bit of inspiration for us there…The name ‘Lost in a Rush of Emptiness’, to me, has that feeling of when you find out something awful and you’ve got that gut-wrenching feeling and you feel sort of like you’re spinning out of control and losing your sense of self.”

On the new album, Bleach Lab writes about these complex and real human emotions as well as deeply personal struggles. One single from the album, “Smile For Me”, was written by Kyle about her experience with sexual harassment. She says that while this song was the most challenging for her to write, it was also the most empowering.

“It’s basically just taking all of the things that I’m too afraid to say in that moment, for fear of response or reaction, and just singing it [and] basically putting it into a song,” she says. “It’s a bit of a call out as well. I was really nervous to play it…because we have quite a high male audience demographic, and I was a little bit nervous cause I don’t want people to think that I’m just accusing or anything like that. But yeah, it’s something that I feel really strongly about. Whilst we don’t like to get into those sort of debates, generally speaking, it’s our attempt of saying how we feel.”

Longman also has his own personal track on the album, a single titled “Counting Empties”. The song is a self-reflection as he writes of his struggles with alcohol and how it impacted past relationships.

“I feel with alcoholism as well, it’s something that people might have without even realizing it,” Longman says, “and I think that’s where the lyrics came from for me. [My relationships would] always end and after a while [I was like], why is this? And then my consumption of alcohol, that really affects people you’re around, if it’s your loved ones or family or whoever. So maybe it is quite a good little insight to me, and we break down how I could be a better person and overcome issues with alcohol and at the same time just try and be a better me.”

Whether they write about sexual harassment or struggles with alcohol, what Bleach Lab hopes to do in their music is bring light to these sensitive subjects and let others know it’s okay to talk about them.

“A lot of the stuff that we do talk about is kind of considered to be taboo,” Kyle says. “Being able to talk about those things in quite a public way, you can potentially normalize it more in discussions with people or give people a bit more confidence. It’s not an absolutely ginormous audience, but if it can give one person a bit more confidence to speak about their issues or their struggles or personal experiences then that’s our job done in terms of how we measure the successes of things.”

Bleach Lab’s debut Album, “Lost in a Rush of Emptiness”, is out now.

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