London-based therapist-come-songwriter Laura Fell has released “Cold”, the second single to be taken from her upcoming debut album Safe From Me.
The hollow of a stripped-back gypsy blues riff lingers threateningly behind whispered vocals with the dramatic timbre of Marianne Faithful, before lavishly expanding into a sweet, spiralling melody that masks the dramatic irony of Laura Fell's day job: “I can’t find the answers for myself, / it’s to easier to help somebody else.”
“This song is about the vulnerability of entering into a new relationship,” explains Fell, “wanting to open yourself fully, but fearful of doing this too soon - and essentially asking someone not to reject or judge you when you show them the messier parts of yourself.”
For all its self-realised despondency, “Cold” begins to unravel with a playful ease. Imagine recreating Pink Floyd’s Polly Sampson-written opus “The Division Bell” at your local Wilko’s; cooking utensils are strewn across the aisles, and there you are amply jumping between frying pans and wind chimes finding percussion in everything (listen carefully for the sieve in verse four). It’s “Tubular Bells” performed by one person; it’s Big Thief’s James Krivchenia gleefully emptying a packet of plastic fruit over his drum kit to find the drop in “Mary”.
"We’d gone into the studio session with quite a sparse arrangement for ‘Cold’, really, wanting to leave room to get creative with it in the studio,” Fell explains. “The little rushy bits of percussion are definitely some of my favourite layers of the track - I think they really amp up the sort of weird, creepy vibe. I’d been inspired by the drums on a tune by my friend Hailey Tuck, ‘My Chemical Life'. I remember Lloyd (Haines) and Alex (Killpartrick) having all these pots, pans, glasses and random objects laid out across the floor in the live room, and just looping the track and going for it.”
The result in “Cold” is a song that cloaks a dual life for Fell – wanting to be vulnerable without knowing how much of herself to give away, and being expected professionally to answer questions she’s unable to map onto herself. Self-doubt has never sounded this good.