When three artists, with insurmountably sublime talent and a distinctive penchant for crafting the most viscerally emotive songs in their own particular ways, combine forces, the result is as harmonious, poignant and affecting as you might imagine; especially when those three are Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, and Phoebe Bridgers.
When the trio announced back in August they were putting out an EP together as boygenius, heralded by the release of the incredible single ‘Me & My Dog’, it almost seemed a collaboration too good to be true, and boy do they show how a supergroup is done.
Across their self-titled EP Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus share the lead, bringing their distinctive sonic atmospheres and approaches and uniting these with considered nuance. Each of the tracks bears the feeling of a timeless classic, a pure work of genius, which takes on particular significance as these are all incredible artists who just happen to be women but unfortunately this still becomes a focal point for critics and the like, collecting “women in rock” under this lazy umbrella term. And this is something boygenius very much confront and dismiss with inimitable artistry.
The songwriting is beautifully earnest, tender and melancholy, innate qualities that undoubtedly unite the solo work of each of these musicians, and the result is songs of raw emotion purveyed with a powerful synergy. ‘Salt In The Wound’ demonstrates how their perfect harmonies soar from heart-wrenching, dulcet fragility to potent, ear-splitting gusto with layers of distorted guitars accompanying their spiralling vocals.
Alongside the more apparent variance in their individual vocals – Dacus’ crystalline, frank delivery, Bridger’s lingering, smooth intimacy, and Baker’s uninhibited, fervent intensity – their instrumental tendencies are tangible as well. Bridger’s inclination for affecting folk-rock melds with Baker’s emo-tinged ambience and Dacus’ transcendent swathes of reverb-filled guitar lines to create something of otherworldly majesty.
On closing track ‘Ketchum, ID’ the trio recreates a kind of country-tinged travelling ballad, lilting with aching longing offering perhaps the most strikingly magical three-part harmonies on the record that tug on the heartstrings with melodious potency. Every moment of the EP is a moment to cherish, and other than the fact that it’s over far too soon, boygenius is nothing short of perfection.