Premiere: Asylums’ Spirited “Instant Coffee” Is a Highly Caffeinated, Deeply Cathartic Anthem for the Broken & Bitter

Asylums © Alistair Underwood
Asylums © Alistair Underwood
Catchy, cathartic, and comforting, Asylums’ emotionally charged new single “Instant Coffee” goes down smooth and soothes the soul: An outpouring of tender turmoil and raw reckoning made for these times, it’s a spirited, cathartic anthem for the broken and bitter – and a career-defining hit in the making.
for fans of Peace, Blur, Catfish And The Bottlemen
Stream: “Instant Coffee” – Asylums




I sit and drink my instant coffee while the world is in despair…

While it might just be the caffeine talking, Asylums’ new song “Instant Coffee” feels like an instant hit.

Aromatic and emotionally charged, the UK band’s stirring single is catchy, cathartic, and comforting; an outpouring of tender turmoil and raw reckoning made for these dark and uncertain times. If you’ve found yourself overwhelmed and wondering how the hell we got here; if you’re struggling for a good reason to get out of bed in the morning; if you’ve lost your spark to the crippling weight of the world, then know that you’re not alone. Asylums may not have a panacea for all our problems, but their heartfelt music is a welcome reassurance – that temporary pick-me-up we need to get us through the hardest days.

Achingly intimate and deeply vulnerable, “Instant Coffee” is a heavy, heartfelt cup of invigorating Britpop that goes down smooth and soothes the soul. A medium roast with a full body and a crisp, nutty aftertaste, it’ll leave you refreshed, energized, and ready for whatever life throws your way.

Signs of Life - Asylums © Iron Brain
Signs of Life – Asylums
There’s a hole that’s inside
A black cloud in my blue sky thinking
I lay awake but never speak of it, no
Waking up to routine
In wastelands where we just earn a living
This quiet thought will percolate for years in me now
I sit and drink my instant coffee
While the world is in despair
All around me faces start to frown
As our freedom turns to fear
I sit and drink my instant coffee
Try to work out why I’m here
All around me people start
to drown in a reservoir of tears

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Instant Coffee,” the captivating fourth single taken off Asylums’ forthcoming fourth album, Signs of Life (independently out October 28 via the band’s own Cool Thing Records). Hailing from Southend-on-Sea, Asylums have been dishing out charming and churning pop-infused rock songs for the better part of the past eight years. The four-piece of Luke Branch (Vocals / Guitar), Jazz Miell (Guitar), Michael “Mike” Webster (Bass), and Henry Tyler (Drums) formed in 2014 and have self-described as “art rock and agitpop” ever since. Focused as much on soaring melodies and searing beats as they are on thought-provoking lyrics and high-energy, dynamic performances, the band have quickly built an impressive catalog, releasing a new LP every two years since their start: 2016’s Killer Brain Waves was followed by 2018’s Alien Human Emotions and 2020’s Genetic Cabaret. This fall’s Signs of Life continues the biannual trend, with recent singles “Crypto Klepto,” “Scatterbrain,” and “Understand the Psychology” finding Asylums at the top of their game, working with producer Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, The Who) to create what may very well be their tightest and tastiest LP to date.

Asylums © Alistair Underwood
Asylums © Alistair Underwood



“Instant Coffee” follows on the heels of these three summer singles, and it would seem Asylums saved their best for last.

An earnest rush of radiant power pop, Asylums’ new track channels existential worries and woes into something of an anthemic rallying cry for the weary. At once universal and personal, frontman Luke Branch’s lyrics find him dwelling in a place of despair and melancholia (“There’s a hole that’s inside, a black cloud in my blue sky thinking“), processing and internalizing these visceral emotions in the most ordinary of routines (“I sit and drink my instant coffee, while the world is in despair. All around me faces start to frown as our freedom turns to fear.“) The storm overhead is the storm within, and while this may on the surface sound quite doom and gloom, in practice Asylums create a vessel through which their audience can feel cathartic relief, emotional release, and a deeper sense of connection to the band on a basic human level.

Share the secrets we keep
Stay in bed for the next hangover
We meditate and then reflect on dreams
Optimised to collect
Binge watch until our eyes glaze over
We learn to crawl inside a life of speed and need now
I sit and drink my instant coffee
While the world is in despair
All around me faces start to frown
As our freedom turns to fear
I sit and drink my instant coffee
Try to work out why I’m here
All around me people start to drown in a reservoir of tears

By openly and freely sharing a bit of their own traumas, Asylums create a safe space for us to reflect on the same; and in doing so, we all regain a little more control over our lives. “Instant Coffee” isn’t a happy song, but it feels undeniably good.

Considering this, it may come as a surprise to hear how close Asylums came to not making this track.

“I wrote songs everyday during lockdown and by the time we finally came to develop them as a band I had a list of 100 or so titles written in marker pen on my studio wall,” Luke Branch tells Atwood Magazine. “Jazz, our guitarist, asked what ‘Instant Coffee’ was, and I just made up a load of excuses why we shouldn’t work on it – he was adamant we should. The first line in the song is, ‘There’s a hole that’s inside,‘ so I guess I was apprehensive about putting something so personal out there at a time when I was struggling internally. Now when I hear it I’m very proud, I’m glad we took a chance on it.”

Asylums © Alistair Underwood
Asylums © Alistair Underwood



Those in and around Asylums’ camp all seem to agree that this song is something special.

“It’s like all of Luke’s songwriting to date has been leading up to ‘Instant Coffee,’ a beautifully melancholic perfect pop song with real depth!” the band’s producer Dave Eringa says. “Late ’90s Albarn meets the great bits of American indie at a classical concert, and they all get together for a party!”

A dash of the past and the urgency of the present help lay the groundwork for a bona fide hit in the making: Through despondency and cynicism, “Instant Coffee” shines as a rousing, spirited anthem for the broken, the bitter, the jaded, and the disenchanted. Vividly poetic lines like “The sudden hit of perfumed destiny” and “All around me people start to drown in a reservoir of tears” resonate with depth and magnitude as Asylums deliver a seductive and stunning sonic experience, replete with lush harmonies, cinematic climaxes, sweeping orchestral string swells, and feverish vocals we can’t help but sing at the top of our lungs.

This is the kind of sweet release 2022 needs, and for those reasons and more, Asylums are an obvious artist to watch moving forward. Get your fix and stream “Instant Coffee” exclusively on Atwood Magazine; Asylums’ fourth album Signs of Life is out everywhere October 28.

Try to work out what is left for me
Try to work out what you want from me
The sudden hit of perfumed destiny
I sit and drink my instant coffee
I know I’m not happy here
All around me faces start to frown
As our freedom turns to fear
I sit and drink my instant coffee
I know I’m not happy here
All around me people start to drown in a reservoir of tears

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Stream: “Instant Coffee” – Asylums



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Signs of Life - Asylums © Iron Brain

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