We have a brand new album release from SYML today, titled “The Day My Father Died”. The highly emotional and honest sophomore album contains 15 tracks exploring the act of healing and of personal growth. The release of this album follows up the sixth single release from this LP project, titled “Chariot”.
SYML, real name Brian Fennell, is a talented singer, songwriter, and producer from Seattle, Washington, who was originally a part of the indie band, Barcelona. Born in Issaquah, he was adopted and raised in Seattle where he was introduced to classical piano at a young age. He went on to study Music Education with an emphasis on percussion at Seattle Pacific University and later became a self-taught producer, programmer, and guitarist. SYML’s music is inspired by his own personal heritage, as the Welsh word “SYML” means “simple”. He grapples with his adoption and heritage in his songwriting, with his experience influencing his work. He released his self-titled debut album in 2019, which included the Platinum-selling song “Where’s My Love” – which is his most-streamed song on Spotify at over 360 million streams. He followed that up with the grief-stricken EP “DIM”, which was inspired by his late father’s cancer diagnosis – the passing of his father, of which, inspired his latest sophomore album “The Day My Father Died”. SYML’s music was featured in several movies, TV series, and ad campaigns, including Netflix’s original series Behind Her Eyes which featured his version of “Mr. Sandman”, which became the title track; other film and TV placements include Station 19, Shadowhunters, Queen Sugar, Maid, Teen Mom 2, NCID: Hawai’i, Legacies, Grey’s Anatomy, Love Island, Private Eyes, Manifest, and more. He has also been featured on the forthcoming Lana Del Rey album, “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd”. SYML is currently in the UK for an in-store tour before a major headline European Tour, including several UK shows.
Talking about one of the tracks on the album, known as “Corduroy”, SYML said: “My favorite outfit when I was very young was a pair of blue, corduroy overalls. Originally, I started writing ‘The Day My Father Died’ about the tension I have felt about my relationship with faith. I don’t know if that’s because my dad was sick when I wrote most of these songs or not. Throughout the writing process, I realized that my tension was never rooted in the things that made me angry or cynical, it was simply in trying to understand myself and others. I think that’s true for many people. This album turned into an exploration of that. And ‘Corduroy’ felt like the perfect song to end the album since it feels like a return to the innocence of my youth; moving forward into the unknown with a sense of peace and outlook on the world without judgement. Beautifully, I think this is also the spirit my dad held onto in his last days.”
Stream “The Day My Father Died” by SYML on Spotify here:
Recording the album in studios around Seattle, including inside a church, SYML enlisted Phil Ek to produce “The Day My Father Died” as he reflects on his personal journey of emotional healing after the loss of his adoptive father in 2021. Through his music, he explores themes of interpersonal connection and the idea of chosen family. The album represents not only his mourning process but also his growth as he learns to navigate and come to terms with a significant change in his life. On the album, SYML collaborates with Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Lucius, Sara Watkins, and Charlotte Lawrence.
“Howling” kickstarts SYML’s sophomore album with a progressive backing beat giving the feel of anticipation to the listeners until a few seconds in with he absolutely blows us away with his clear and crisp vocal that is iconic and absolutely gorgeous. He teams up with Lucius on this track and he makes sure that we listen to the entirety of the album with this opening song with the emotional tone to his voice that flows through a variety of notes and hits a falsetto like no other, with additional harmonies that just guarantees to hit every listener in the heart. “Believer” follows which adds a darker tone sonically, with drums and SYML using strong deep vocals mixed with the occasional falsetto, truly showcasing his vocal range and spreading positivity of love in the lyrics. The third track, “Laughing at the Storm”, brings a slight country vibe mixed with mainstream upbeat pop to the album as SYML confesses to wanting to be there for someone if they stayed in one place. “Sweet Home” follows next, stripping it down more as guitar chords bring an acoustic sound as he continues the story from the previous track, welcoming us home and describing future loss in a heartbreaking descriptive way focusing on the home environment.
The album continues the story, with the Guy Garvey collaboration for track five, “Lost Myself”, delving into gentle indie-rock, whereas track six, “The Day My Father Died”, contrasts brilliantly with an upbeat pop number about positive vibes around the death of a loved one and how it doesn’t have to be a devastating trauma to go through – this is easily our favourite track of the album, we all need a bit of these good vibes and notions in our lives. Track seven, “Feel Your Pain”, tones the album down with a soulful pop ballad with prominent guitar chords as SYML connects with the listener emotionally. “Tragic Magic” follows next adding a bit of folk soul into the mix as he continues to impress with his truly unforgettable voice. “Chariot” is track nine on the album and it’s a rhythmic guitar anthem that is passionate from the get-go. Track ten is “Marion” which has a soul pop-rock tempo going on as SYML sings about falling deep for someone but not being ready for love.
Sara Watkins joins SYML on the 11th track, “Better Part of Me”, as they strip back the sound completely, using SYML’s voice to open the song with the two incredible singer-songwriters singing about being in love and everything that goes with that. “Baby Don’t Lie” follows next which is a pure pop-rock ballad that is groovy and honest, giving raw vocals and heart-touching emotion. Track 13 sees Charlotte Lawrence collaborate with SYML which is titled “You and I”, stripping it back once again, allowing the vocals of both artists to completely shine with some truly chilling harmonies. “Caving In” is the penultimate track, number 14, giving us a progressive rhythmic guitar track with some blistering vocal notes from SYML, completely showcasing his range and emotional integrity as his lyrics mention asking someone to let him go. Lastly, “Corduroy” ends the album, with SYML touching on his falsetto again as he delves deeply into lyrics about what it was like being an adopted child and it’s almost a love letter to his father who is no longer in this world letting him know that he’s going to go forth in his life with positivity and peace, much like his innocent child-self was, rather than dwelling on issues and problems.
Stream our favourite track from the album below:
“The Day My Father Died”, the sophomore album by SYML, is available to download and stream, right now, across all platforms, independently released but under exclusive license to Nettwerk Music Group Inc.