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REVIEW: boygenius – ‘boygenius’ EP (Matador)


In a sentence:

A collaborative effort between Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, ‘boygenius’ is an imperious display of empathy and brilliant songwriting.

boygenius – a collaborative effort between Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus – is less a stereotypical supergroup than a candle burning brightly, one that shows that ‘women in rock’ is nothing more than an increasingly valueless label. While the trio have been made to stand under the umbrella-term of ‘indie girls’, their six-track EP boygenius acknowledges and then completely dismantles the idea that women in indie-rock are all the same. This is shown so greatly through the individual songs, were each artist’s individual talent and style is so succinctly laid out and given room to shine without overlapping, the voices of Baker, Bridgers and Dacus are clear to hear throughout and are distilled into a perfect blend.

The EP’s opener ‘Bite The Hand’ is driven by Dacus and blessed with harmonies, its refrain “I can’t love you how you want me to” is sung with echoes and indications of regret. This powerful first track closes with the same words repeated, as the instrumentation ceases and leave the vocals standing alone. Phoebe Bridgers commandeers ‘Me & My Dog’, her lament of “I want to hear one song without thinking of you / I wish I was on a spaceship, just me and my dog and an impossible view” a sad but true recalling of the inability to erase the memory an ex from your mind. The baton is passed to Julien Baker on the back-to-back ‘Souvenir’ and ‘Stay Down’, songs that if not contributed to this incredible record would fit in well among Baker’s own solo work. “Push me down into the water like a sinner, hold me under and I’ll never come up again”, she intones, gently laying on religious references similar to that of her own songs.

‘Salt In The Wound’ is a huge collective effort between the three that wouldn’t sound out of place in a stadium, carrying the themes of being taken advantage of, structures of reverb and walls of well projected voices pushing it into the spotlight as the thematic centrepiece of this well-crafted EP.

Lyrical content on boygenius is undeniably brilliant and not to be overlooked, with themes of grief, self-worth and heartache, each word drawing its power from dark places we are all likely to have visited. ‘Ketchum, ID’ is the closing number of a frankly too short collection of songs. We want more. “I am never anywhere, anywhere I go” is beautifully sung in union between these commanding females, followed by “When I’m home, I’m never there long enough to know”, a grieving follow-up to already such sad words.

To put it simply, this imperious short collection unequivocally kicks ass. To get cheesy for a second, boy, it’s genius… a tremendous trio of females from (crucially) different categories of sound have kicked down the doors of Reductive Labels HQ and bashed some heads together. (8/10) (Rebecca Corbett)

Listen to boygenius EP by boygenius here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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