Holly Humberstone released the album Paint My Bedroom Black in 2023 which contained the track “Cocoon.”, and now she has released a new version of that song in collaboration with Medium Build.

The original version is a lively, fully produced affair that kicks in with a relentless beat from very early on.

The new version is something entirely different.

Apart from a very slight synth in the background in places, grungy electric guitar is all that carries the song. That and the two voices which are double-tracked in places, harmonising in others, but more often consciously (and in places self-consciously) bare, solo, intimate, and raw.

Humberstone sings for the first verse, asking for company, trying to sort out her mood and her situation, and eventually conceding that:

I’m just going through something 

In the second verse, Medium Build takes over, and it’s not long before he raises the intensity of his singing, turning the song into something else. Given that there’s so little behind it, that intensity really brings this version of the song alive and contrasts well with Humberstone’s close and intimate delivery of the previous verse.

In that first verse, she sings:

Soon I’ll break out this cocoon

giving a context of needing to escape what she’s been going through. The rest of the words elaborate on that, sometimes conjuring up some interesting images and scenarios to escape into. One of my favorites is:

I’ll be swimming in the pools of your fragrance when you’re in proximity

Although the melody isn’t exactly cheerful sounding, those words fill the song with a great swell of hope, found in the idea that however much you feel you’re falling apart, you can go driving in your car together and listen to cassettes, or watch The O.C. together.

You know, casual stuff. Things to take your mind off your mind.

Mind you, Medium Build’s voice rising in intensity contradicts this, especially when he sings:

You said you’d give me both your kidneys
If I cried for help
Like, Jesus Christ, calm down!

It’s too much. He just wants to do something easy, something to keep the demons at bay that he doesn’t have to think too deeply about.

The next time they both sing of going through something, it’s more urgent. When he repeats the line about The O.C., the guitar stops so that he’s momentarily alone. It’s a random moment to stop everything as it makes that line stand right out, front and centre.

Was it intentional to do that? My guess is that Medium Build got lost in his performance, and since that moment in his singing was particularly emotional, they decided to give it its own spotlight.

For Humberstone to decide to collaborate on this track, handing over so much of the singing to someone else, is extremely generous and brave here. But it doesn’t seem accidental. The lyrics to the song, as well as the performance of it here, attest to the fact that sharing something together, casually or intensely, may just be the thing that gets you from one end of the day to the other.