Nah Phoebe, we see *you*
Twenty-five year old LA songwriter Phoebe Bridgers burst onto the scene in 2017 with the stunningly haunting Stranger in the Alps, weaving together country, folk and indie rock together into an unignorably well-realised debut LP. Very quickly, Ms. Bridgers managed to both craft and refine a sound that is unmistakably unique. After her stellar input as one half of American superduo Better Oblivion Community Centre and their self-titled debut in 2019, I, like many others, were left eager for more Phoebe. Fast forward to 2020, and the announcement of Phoebe’s sophomore LP, Punisher, left the music world eagerly anticipating what she had cooked up next.
With the release of 'Garden Song' and 'Kyoto' as the first singles released from Punisher (both already among my favourite singles of 2020) with Bridgers' latest single 'I See You' I am glad to report that it's more of the exceptional same. Production wise, 'I See You' is an immediate highlight in Phoebe’s discography. Meshing traditional guitar, bass and drums with the plucked crescendo of a string section setting the scene for what I must imagine the mysteries of Punisher and its sound will come to resemble. The tune sits somewhat in the middle-ground between 'Garden Song' and 'Kyoto,' retaining the intimacy we are now so used to from Phoebe, but displaying a commendably mature stylistic step-up from her debut.
Phoebe sings of the realisation that partners and significant others aren’t always perfect. Layered vocals with male harmonies are downright sonorous, while her lyricism again proves (expectedly) clever and thought provoking;
If you're a work of art, I'm standing too close
I can see the brush strokes
A deep, panning drone hovers above reverb soaked drums throughout the verses. Delicate guitars compliment Phoebe’s delivery in the choruses beautifully, and the occasional delay effect on snare drum accents fill the space, delicately teetering into psychedelic experimentation (certainly some Tame Impala-ness audible on the drums here!) The mix is warm and full, yet Phoebe continues to take centre stage - as she should.
'I See You' is another excellent single from Phoebe and serves a perfect example of how to evolve and grow from a debut record. Phoebe Bridgers’ music is truly some of the most exciting in the current indie bubble, and 'I See You' has me (somehow) even more excited for Punisher (out June 19th via Dead Oceans).
Hear Phoebe Bridgers' 'I See You' on Slow Motion Panic Masters' regularly updating Spotify playlist right now on our Best Songs of May 2020 List:
James Mellen is a very bored student in his final year of compulsory education, waiting to study music production and performance at degree level. He is passionate about music, guitars and music. He also watches films sometimes. Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in South Wales. Follow Slow Motion Panic Masters on instagram, like us on facebook and subscribe to our mailing list below to be alerted every time a new post is published on the site.