On her single ‘How Do You Leave’, English folk rock singer Bess Atwell asks, in a few different ways over and over, “How do you leave someone you love?” She doesn’t offer an answer, and in the gentle atmosphere she crafts to carry heart-breaking lyrics, it becomes clear that there is no easy one. A stunning effort from her debut album ‘Already, Always’, Atwell touches on a universal question in a poignant way.
Of ‘Already, Always’, the Brighton-based performer said “On the surface it’s easy to assume it’s a breakup album, but I was trying to communicate something broader”, and this holds true on ‘How Do You Leave’. While you could think of the single as describing the end of a romantic relationship, it might also deeply resonate for a young person leaving their childhood home for the first time or for a pair questioning whether they’ve outgrown their friendship.
Listeners will find Atwell singing as someone who understands that a relationship needs to end or is ending, but has no true idea, or even desire, to leave it. With harmonious background vocals and folksy guitar riffs, Atwell creates an enveloping soundscape that allows her gorgeous, honeyed vocals and mournful lyrics to take centre stage – a thoughtfully crafted setting for listeners to reflect on an impossible question.
Words by Tunika Onnekikami