If You Only Feel It Once: London’s Bleach Lab Seduce the Heart with Hauntingly Beautiful, Nostalgic, & Brutally Raw Third EP

Bleach Lab © Rory Dunn
Bleach Lab © Rory Dunn
London’s Bleach Lab dive into their hauntingly beautiful, nostalgic, and brutally raw third EP ‘If You Only Feel It Once,’ a seductive dream pop reverie diving into themes of connection, belonging, and the feeling of “home.”
Stream: “If You Only Feel It ” – Bleach Lab




Fragile lives and fragile minds, when nothing seems to work then it can feel like it’s not worth it…

For so many of us, “home” is an ephemeral, ethereal concept: It’s something we’re searching for and striving towards, but we don’t know what it looks like, and we don’t know when or where we’ll find it. We’re each on this individual journey for home, and yet this endeavor is often isolating and insulating; for the most part we’re alone in our searching, keeping our emotions to ourselves despite how often we might feel that yearning in our gut.

That’s why Bleach Lab’s third EP is so damn special. An achingly warm and wistful dream pop experience, If You Only Feel It Once is a comforting, cathartic reminder that we’re all looking for the same basic things in life: A sense of purpose, connection, understanding, and a place to call home.

If You Only Feel It Once - Bleach Lab
If You Only Feel It Once – Bleach Lab
You’ve been spending all your time
Finding somewhere that feels like home
And you wonder why you can’t
Shake the fear of being alone
And the storm, it guides you back into the dark
If you only it feel it once
Is it enough?

Hauntingly beautiful and brutally raw, If You Only Feel It Once is an outstanding triumph for South London’s Bleach Lab.

A longtime Atwood Magazine artist-to-watch, three-time Editor’s Pick, and one of our Top Artist Discoveries of 2021, Bleach Lab have emerged over the past few years as one of the UK’s most exciting acts, with a heavy, lush shoegaze-y sound and soul-stirring lyrics full of depth, unfiltered emotion, and substance.

Bleach Lab © Rory Dunn
Bleach Lab © Rory Dunn



“Subtle nuance marries impassioned alternative sounds and pop songwriting across Bleach Lab’s releases, each of which deserves our undivided time and attention,” we wrote early last year, hailing them as “a ray of breathtaking musical introspection, heart-on-sleeve expression, and sheer vulnerability.” Bleach Lab mix intense emotion with fragility – their art is the musical equivalent of a beautiful flower that is here today, and gone tomorrow. Except that we get to cherish these songs forever.

Bleach Lab formed in late 2018 and have been quickly charting their own course in the world, releasing two EPs in 2021 alone. Their beautifully tranquilizing music reached its first fever pitch in March 2021’s debut EP A Calm Sense of Surrounding, and its second with last October’s intimate and enchanting sophomore EP Nothing Feels Real. Thanks to the stunningly expressive work of vocalist Jenna Kyle, drummer Shawn Courtney, bassist Josh Longman, and guitarist Frank Wates, Bleach Lab have found their niche in a glistening assembly of sweet, seductive, and singular sound. Think Mazzy Star meets Daughter, The Smiths, and The 1975.

Before we jump right in
Can we go back to the beginning
Our eyes across the room
Did you know that we share the same moon?
You’re the only one that I see
When I’m awake and in my dreams
Can I change my address to your place
If all I see is your face
If you’re worked up, in a state
I could be your safe place
– “I Could Be Your Safe Place,” Bleach Lab
Bleach Lab © Rory Dunn
Bleach Lab © Rory Dunn



The band’s third EP is their most “Bleach Lab” effort to date, if that were even possible. They themselves describe it as “nostalgic, introspective, and expansive.”

“The tracks from this EP were written over quite a large period of time,” Bleach Lab’s Jenna Kyle tells Atwood Magazine. “For example, ‘Obviously’ was written back in early 2021, whereas ‘Take It Slow’ was only finalized as a song in the weeks prior to recording it in April 2022. Like much of our previous releases, the themes still retain around exploring relationships, discovering truths about who we are as individuals. Learning to be alone and trying to be secure in it. The overarching theme of the EP we decided was the nostalgic feeling of ‘home’. I (Jenna) was extremely lucky in that I had a wonderful upbringing and a clear vision and feeling of what home is to me. Growing up, moving out and finding our place in our own small corner of the world can be overwhelming to say the least. I personally have been on a constant search for that nostalgic feeling of ‘home’, both as an emotional and physical thing. Searching for it in other people and places and trying to be it for others. Hence the lyric, ‘If you only feel it once, is it enough’, ‘it’ being that feeling of security that you might find at home.”

“We decided that we wanted to explore some poppier elements within our songs, so we established that as the framework for all the writing and recording decisions,” Kyle says of the band’s vision. “Bigger drums, widescreen guitars and production, all things we wanted to keep front and center. We chose to work with Duncan Mills (producer, mixer) because he understood this right from the start of our conversations together. This direction remained consistent throughout the recording process.”

Bleach Lab © Rory Dunn
Bleach Lab © Rory Dunn



If You Only Feel It Once is a definitive evolution for Bleach Lab and a marker forward in their artistic journey.

“It has much poppier elements, most notably on ‘I Can Be Your Safe Place’ and ‘Take It Slow,’ Kyle reflects, “but we have still kept touches of our old releases – ‘Pale Shade of Blue’ probably being the most similar sonically to our earlier work. We are still at a fairly explorative stage of our career. So, we aren’t concerned so much with what feels like a natural continuation, as we are with fully fleshing out how we want to be perceived as a band.”

Conclusively, “it’s a record that shows we have come a long way as a band since our last release. We feel it shows that we aren’t afraid to move away from our more intimate, soft moments that are present on our previous releases, instead exploring a bigger and fuller sound. It’s also shown our ambition a lot more. For example, our video for ‘If You Only Feel It Once’ was considered too hard to pull off when we were initially conceiving it, but we persevered and we are so happy with how it all came together.”

‘If You Only Feel It Once’ is both the name of and a lyric from one of the EP tracks. As we felt that a majority of the tracks touched on themes of feeling at home, finding home, searching for that feeling – the title questions whether, if you have been lucky enough to have only felt it that once (that feeling), is it enough?

Bleach Lab © Ethan Lodge
Bleach Lab © Ethan Lodge



Bleach Lab first teased their new music in late July with “Take It Slow,” a rich and dreamy song “about finding your way and not wanting to rush through life without taking time to appreciate the view,” per Kyle. “There is no option to rewind, forget about the things you left behind,” she sings sweetly against a gently bustling, enchanting, and ethereal soundscape. “You don’t have to make it all make sense. Feelings of regret and bitterness, there’s no need for holding on to that.”

We’re moving too fast take it slow, you’ve been
Trying to fit the space of a shape that you don’t know
You’re always looking ahead, instead of
Breathing it in and letting go

“It is very much about being and living in the moment, being present and trying to let go of anxieties of everyday life whilst trying to view things more positively,” Kyle adds.

The band followed “Take It Slow” with August’s resilient, resounding, and refreshingly hard-hitting “Obviously,” a sweet upheaval replete with an instantly memorable, cathartic chorus and stirring shoegaze-y guitars that capture, in their reverb-drenched vibrations, an unimaginable amount of dashed hopes and words unsaid. Kyle calls it “a candid reflection on the aftermath of an unexpected breakup and the inevitable cycle of blame and misdirected emotion that follows.”

If you think it isn’t about him, well it is
What you gunna do about it?
And if you think that you were the first
You were probably third or fourth of fifth
What you gunna do about it?
If it keeps you up
If you question it
Does he still love her?
Obviously, obviously, obvious…




Those two songs were recently joined by the EP’s title track “If You Only Feel It Once,” which the band list, with great difficulty, as their favorite of this new batch of songs.

“We always struggle to come to a consensus on this,” she admits, “but I think we all love the title track ‘If You Only Feel It Once.’ There’s a reason we couldn’t help but start to play it long before we’d even recorded it, let alone release it. It featured on all our UK tour shows at the start of this year.”

That song also contains Kyle’s some of favorite lyrics. “The lyrics of the second verse as a whole are a real favorite and reflect the way I feel life seems to be moving so fast but at the same time feels continuous and never ending, with that consistent and impending feeling of running out of time. It really is bizarrely beautiful and relentless at the same time. ‘Nothing ever seems to last, the days go by and they’re coming fast. You can feel yourself running out of time. The road gets longer ahead, I don’t think that there’s a finish line.’

You’ve been spending all your time
Finding somewhere that feels like home
And you wonder why you can’t
Shake the fear of being alone
And the storms, they guide you back into the dark
If you only it feel it once
Is it enough?




Bleach Lab have outdone themselves on what is undoubtedly their finest work yet.

Bigger and bolder than its predecessors yet just as intimate and intense, If You Only Feel It Once aches with catchy, immersive melodies, smoldering instrumental work, radiant, finessed production, and seductive contemplations on the big questions that all too often keep us up at night. And yet, in their unapologetic search for belonging, Bleach Lab have created something that itself makes us feel at home: If You Only Feel It Once is, in some ways, an answer to its own questions.

“We always say that we hope listeners of our tracks feel understood,” Kyle shares. “There’s nothing like when you hear a song and relate to the lyrics without having to say the words yourself, we want to create that feeling of relatability for our listeners.”

This set of songs is a resounding achievement, and yet another notch in the belt for one of Britain’s best and brightest talents. Prepare to cry, groove, dance, laugh, smile, and sing your heart out. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Bleach Lab’s If You Only Feel It Once with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their third EP!

If You Only Feel It Once is out now via Nettwerk Music Group!

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:: stream/purchase Bleach Lab here ::
‘If You Only Feel It Once’ – Bleach Lab



:: Inside If You Only Feel It Once ::

If You Only Feel It Once - Bleach Lab

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If You Only Feel It Once

The lyrics cover a lot of themes of finding a home, feeling safe, finding your way in life and feeling like you’re running out of or wasting your time on the wrong things or people. It’s an inner dialogue with yourself, and in my opinion ‘it’ is subjective and could mean a number of things depending on the listener. However, to me, ‘it’ is referring to ‘home’ i.e. if you only feel home once.



Take It Slow

“Take It Slow” is also about finding your way and not wanting to rush through life without taking time to appreciate the view. ‘Trying to fit the space of a shape that you don’t know’ refers to not getting stuck as someone that you don’t recognize by losing sight of yourself. It is very much about being and living in the moment, being present and trying to let go of anxieties of everyday life whilst trying to view things more positively.



Obviously

This track addresses the person your partner has left you for, you’re bitter, hurt and rightly or wrongly directing your aggression towards them instead. However, in the chorus, it is a bit of a conversation with yourself, self-reflection and realization that it doesn’t really matter what you say or do, he still loves them either way and its probably best left.



Pale Shade of Blue

“Pale Shade of Blue” is about finally coming to the realization that you’re much better off without someone in particular in your life. You want to take back everything you said and gave to them, and all the things that you shared together to replace them with good, positive thoughts and new memories.



I Could Be Your Safe Place

This track is primarily about finally colliding with someone you have been romanticizing for a long time. Not wanting to rush into things too quickly, but at the same time everything seems to fit and you want to be that safe and secure place for them.

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:: stream/purchase Bleach Lab here ::
‘If You Only Feel It Once’ – Bleach Lab



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If You Only Feel It Once - Bleach Lab

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📸 © Rory Dunn

:: Stream Bleach Lab ::



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