Vulnerable if not completely cathartic
Leeza Isaeva
13:28 17th August 2022

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Phoebe Green’s lyrics seem like they have been plucked straight from a journal or therapy session. "Nothing makes me feel so good as wanting something that I shouldn’t," they sing on ‘Won’t Sit Still’, "I stay empty so I can consume" on penultimate track ‘Leach’. Lucky Me, Green’s debut full-length project, is saturated with such reflective and self-aware remarks, and they take a magnifying glass to her predilections, habits, and thought patterns. They find no easy answers, but by tracing these discomforting feelings against a pop-and synth-fuelled sound, Green is gratified by vulnerability if not complete catharsis.  

Lucky Me has a novel style and production: guitars are out, distortion is in. Beyond Green’s own change in style, this accomplished production (duo Kaines and Tom A.D., the former Everything Everything’s guitarist) moves the record away from prosaic bedroom pop into fresher territory. ‘Make It Easy’ is a particular highlight, with an R&B edge, electronic beats, and panned synths that evoke a musical maturity miles away from early singles. Green has adopted the aspects of the bedroom dream pop zeitgeist which remain relevant to them as an artist whilst finding their own sound: a watershed on what feels like a coming-of-age record.

Nevertheless, whilst Green has hoped to centre their vocals within this new sound, the production sometimes overpowers the vulnerable lyricism. On ‘Clean’, the distortion on their voice later in the track makes it difficult to unpick the lyrics in an otherwise emotionally hard-hitting song. The other pitfall of such a powerful soundscape is an inability to differentiate tracks. Despite clear standouts, other tracks like ‘One You Want’ and even ‘Sweat’, the first single for Lucky Me, prove less memorable. Nevertheless, they provide sonic cohesion, and the comparative weakness of Green’s single is a sign of their songwriting strength elsewhere in the album, and indicates what may be to come.

Lucky Me arrives 19 August via Chess Club Records.

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