boygenius – boygenius EP

The EP from the supergroup made up of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus widens the horizons of each artist while simultaneously nailing down what makes each one of them unique.

Album Review by Tony Inglis | 07 Nov 2018
  • boygenius – boygenius EP
Album title: boygenius EP
Artist: boygenius
Label: Matador
Release date: 9 Nov

boygenius are not like other supergroups, and thank God for that. Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus hopefully aren’t at the peak of their powers just yet, but they are each riding the crest of a wave off the back of outstanding breakthrough albums. They create vital, heartfelt, connecting music that has rightly won them an ardent and loyal fanbase. They create art that walks similar emotional pathways – it seems almost an inevitability that they should come together as they have done here.

At the same time, it is a surprise. The term ‘supergroup’ rarely inspires much in the way of expectation. These are not grizzled, washed-up rockstars looking for a new lease of life, perhaps leeching off one or the other’s talent. They’re not a set of pompous and cocksure experimentalists noodling away to nothing. (Funnily enough, the name boygenius comes from the three artists attempting to stamp out an air of self-criticism – something male musicians find all too easy – and follow more of their ideas through, no matter what).

Because of all this, the project makes plain sense in theory, and it is such a joy that it works perfectly. Take the Bridgers-led track Me & My Dog: what’s so astounding is just how easily the three lock in step and complement one another, while still managing to sound entirely themselves. This comes after the EP’s emotional and melodic peak in the Dacus-fronted Bite the Hand, while the spotlight shines on Baker in the two centrepieces, Souvenir and Stay Down.

Every track seems to widen the horizons of each artist while simultaneously nailing down what makes each one of them unique. Perhaps the only downside is the brevity and the fact that, when you hear the voices of Bridgers and Baker back-up Dacus as she rips a solo skyward, it leaves you pining to hear what a whole record of solo Bridgers or Baker backed up by such heft might sound like.

The harmonious country-folk of Ketchum, ID closes the record with the three singing about where they are in their lives. On tour, thinking of home whilst constantly on the road: 'I am never anywhere, anywhere I go / When I’m home, I’m never there long enough to know.' In complete synchronicity.

Listen to: Bite the Hand, Me & My Dog, Stay Down