- 19 Jun 20
Indie-rock star embraces the darkness on stunning second solo LP.
‘The voice of a generation’ is a term that gets bandied about too often – but there’s no denying Phoebe Bridgers’ remarkable ability to capture the intricacies of the millennial experience in 2020. Three years, and two supergroups, after the release of her ecstatically received solo debut Stranger In The Alps, the Californian singer-songwriter has returned with Punisher – an expectation-defying album that finds her exploring the grey areas between hope and despair, humour and gloom, love and heartbreak, and hedonism and regret.
In true millennial fashion, anxiety and nostalgia also come hand-in-hand on the new album – which is bookended by the dark instrumental opener ‘DVD Menu’ and a gloriously chaotic outro that merges the ambitious orchestration of Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois with apocalyptic heavy metal. Punisher’s final sound – a lingering, breathless scream – perfectly encapsulates Phoebe’s penchant for dark humour.
Although exploring familiar lyrical themes of personal struggles, standout single ‘Kyoto’ sees Phoebe making a deliberate effort to expand her sound from the intimate, introspective musings she showcased on Stranger In The Alps into something decidedly more upbeat – complete with triumphant horns.
A continued preoccupation with death colours tracks like ‘Garden Song’ and ‘Halloween’, though the weighty subject is handled as irreverently as ever. While Phoebe revels in the darkness, she doesn’t completely give into the doom. Instead, she continues to look for meaning in uncertainty – with stunning results.