LISTEN: Bess Atwell – ‘Co-op’

A nostalgia-tinged reflection on the different ways we seek comfort in a relationship, British songwriter Bess Atwell has shared her latest single ‘Co-op’. Released via Lucy Rose’s label Real Kind Records, Atwell gently shifts between tenses and re-traces her emotions on this charming musical snapshot, exploring what it means to truly trust someone to help you through life’s difficult moments.

“I think of this song the same way I think of a memory that keeps interrupting the current moment,” Atwell explains. Through her stream of consciousness lyrics and gentle melodies, she finds herself resting somewhere between insecurity and genuine confidence, treating everyday occurrences with a poetic poignancy – “Half your furniture we found on the street outside / Hey somebody is throwing out a perfectly good piece of mind.”

“‘Co-op’ is an illustration of mine and my partner’s life together,” Atwell continues. “The relationship seemed to provide me with some sort of permission to recuperate from family trauma, as if realising for the first time that there was a life outside of that chaos lulled me into an emotional slumber. Through the song I grapple with the desire for, and fear of, comfort. I used references to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway to depict a vivid nostalgia and an affinity for trivialities that serve to calm when darker thoughts set in.”

The track is accompanied by a soft-looking set of visuals, co-directed by Atwell and her good friend George Ogilvie, which gently attempts to “marry two worlds at odds with each other,” contrasting “the mundane and the emotional” elements of the track with Atwell’s eccentric props, outfit and choice of setting.

“‘Co-op’ started out as a bit of a private joke, so I wanted the video to have a self-awareness and sense of humour to it too,” Atwell explains. “I think there can be a tendency, when you’re shooting a music video yourself, to try too hard to make it look professional. Instead, I wanted to lean into the fun of making it with a friend. It felt reminiscent of our childhoods, when we would make up plays or dances and perform them to anyone who would watch.”

Watch the video for ‘Co-op’ below.

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Kate Crudgington

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