English singer-songwriter Stephen Fretwell has released the first taste of his upcoming album, Busy Guy, through the new track ‘The Long Water’.
The folky track pairs Fretwell’s verbose and dense lyrical content with a lilting, serene arrangement of sparse acoustic guitar and only the most unobtrusive rhythm section backing him up. As Fretwell ruminates on the meaning of Polynesian shoes and bleeding feet, the changing tides of a relationship turn and cause one heck of a breakdown. Hydro themes abound: floating at the bottom of a drink, crying enough tears to fill a river, swimming up stream. Sometimes hyper-specific, sometimes elegantly ambiguous, ‘The Long Water’ restores Fretwell’s signature voice that’s been absent for over a decade.
To see why Busy Guy is so hotly anticipated, all you have to do is look at the gap between it and his last album, 2007’s Man on the Roof. Roughly 14 years, give or take a few months. Elusive and not at all concerned with being a modern popular figure, especially in the social media age, Fretwell has been the subject of a number of inquiries and questions about where he’s been and what he’s been up to since he first made waves in the mid-2000s.
The new album’s title is a tongue in cheek response to these questions. The real answer is probably a bit more simple and personal. He’s had family commitments, and the life of a touring and recording musician can often be antithetical to that. Maybe he had a disdain for the industry and made a conscious decision to step away. Maybe he’s been working on a novel or painting or pursuing some other calling. Whatever pushed him to come back, however, must have been a strong force.
‘The Long Water’ also comes with a new video directed by Fernanda Munoz-Newsome and Leah Walker, who says the visualiser is “about experiencing a body and its presence in all its subtleties, awkwardness and unconventional beauty. Zooming in on intimate detail, the video dissects and rebuilds a male body with the female gaze.”
Check out the video for ‘The Long Water’, along with Fretwell’s upcoming tour dates, down below. Busy Guy is set for a July 16 release.
Stephen Fretwell July 2021 tour dates:
- Sunday 20th June – Newcastle – Wylam Brewery *(SOLD-OUT!)*
- Wednesday 14th July – London – St Pancras Old Church *(SOLD-OUT!)*
- Saturday 17th July – Manchester – Night and Day *(SOLD-OUT!)*
- Monday 19th July – London – Rough Trade East
- Tuesday 20th July – Brighton – Resident
- 22nd-25th July – Suffolk – Latitude Festival