Album of the Week: Laura Fell – Safe From Me (Balloon Machine)

Album of the Week: Laura Fell – Safe From Me (Balloon Machine)

A debut release from both artist and label with the alt-pop Safe From Me by Laura Fell on the new Balloon Machine imprint. Originally released in late 2020 the album got a full vinyl release in January 2021 and is our album of the week. 

Laura FellArtist: Laura Fell
Album: Safe From Me
Label: Balloon Machine
Released: 29 January 2020
Find it: Bandcamp | Spotify |

There are bitter winter winds whipping across this Sunday morning, but life itself continues to be still. My own world extends no further than these four walls, and with that contraction comes much introspection. The only thing which can soundtrack this pervading mood is the debut album from Laura Fell, Safe From Me.

Initially released in late 2020 the album, thankfully, was given a full vinyl release in January of this year. This alone makes me feel this album has been rising and falling gently alongside the hum of my everyday life for a while, but only now is externalised and wrapping itself around me fully.

A beautiful record full of duality: cool self-analysis next to warm instrumentation; deep vocal lines singing of ephemeral emotions; intimate sharing so universally resonant. Carefully constructed with no compromise given Safe From Me is a record with immediate impact which only deepens over time.

‘I can’t find the answers for myself / it’s easier to help somebody else’ – Cold

A psychotherapist by day, Fell’s dedication to this journey of self-discovery was all-consuming, so much so that her peers questioned her sanity. Holding down three jobs to fund the recording of Safe From Me, Fell was determined the songs would go far beyond their acoustic guitar genesis, assembling classically trained musicians and their flugelhorns, cellos, saxophones and double bass to fully realise her vision.

Thematically the album is a search for answers from a woman always expected to have them to hand, and the self-punishing frustration that assumption brings. Musically – well, it is a rich soundscape through which we are compelled to explore, drawn on by that voice. Oh, that voice. With the resonance of Aldous Harding or Alison Moyet, Fell brings warmth and depth, emoting with honesty and beauty what could lyrically tilt toward cooly analytical at times.

Complex in structure and theme this is intelligent, orchestrated alt-pop of the finest order, and quite astonishingly fully formed and distinctly visioned for an artist early in their career. It is a release perfectly suited to vinyl, for it needs your full attention and deserves the sense of ceremony too. Set aside the time and take the first step on this journey and whether we class this as a 2020 or a 2021 release know it will make the best of in either year, and become a firm friend to you over all the years to come.

Safe From Me by Laura Fell is out via Balloon Machine now. Find our reviews of Laura Fell singles Cold and Bone of Contention.

Find Laura Fell: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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