There’s no sign of a sophomore slump on Phoebe Bridgers second full length LP, Punisher, as the L.A. songwriter demonstrates a growing maturity and highly developed level of songwriting on one of the standout records of the summer.
Since debuting in 2017 with Stranger in the Alps, Bridgers forged a wonderful partnership with Conor Oberst on one of 2019’s low key highlights, Better Oblivion Community Center. Perhaps the 25-year-old has taken some lessons from the Bright Eyes veteran as Punisher showcases a depth of storytelling and musicianship reminiscent of her mentor’s early works.
The LP’s breathless 40 minutes kick off with a duo of outstanding singles in Garden Song and Kyoto, the former a gently finger-picked welcomer with ASMR-inspired vocal delivery before the latter’s classic indie rock jam opens up a freer, fun side to the record (with charming horn section to boot). Both tracks sound even better in the context of the record as a whole but don’t sleep on the deeper cuts – each is filled with a majestic quality as Bridgers executes some of the finest indie folk ballads you’ll hear in 2020, with Graceland Too the most stunning of the bunch.
Intimate, warm, achingly confessional and wise beyond its years, Punisher is the sound of a distinct artistic evolution.
Words: Andrew Lambert
If you like this, try these:
Big Thief – UFOF
Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
Soccer Mommy – Color Theory