Phebe Starr piqued my interest after I heard the first track off her new EP 'Feel My Love'. I hadn’t heard of her before which is strange given that her music draws comparisons to Florence Welch and Lykke Li — two of my all time favourites. Her vocals pack the same sonic punch as Li and Welch, but her ability to blend emotional storytelling with electro-pop music is all her own.
Her first EP ‘Zero’ was released in 2013, much to the thrill of Triple J who gave a lot of airtime to the standout single ‘Alone with You’. Four years on, and Starr has finally released a follow-up; rich autobiographical EP Chronicles.
In an age of soulless pop anthems, Starr has managed to create a beautiful EP filled with heartfelt songs that don’t skimp on danceable rhythms, as evidenced in opening track ‘Feel my Love’. Although underpinned with beautiful harp music like that of Florence and the Machine’s ‘Cosmic Love’, once the chorus kicks in, the track changes from ethereal pop to punchy dance music.
Second track ‘Two Hearts’ is nowhere near as exciting as ‘Feel my Love’. Although it carries the same harp music, it’s chorus and corresponding rhythm is devoid of spark and disappointingly, it feels a little generic.
Luckily, third track ‘They Keep Telling Me’ is an antidote to the generic. Laden with 80’s synth and reminiscent of the strong female musicians of that era, this track has a Ladyhawke vibe that will get your feet moving and your lungs pumping.
‘Lavender Scars’ is up next and slowly brings you back down, an atmospheric track that sees Starr’s voice deepen and blend effortlessly with beautiful flute music, highlighting her ability to layer different styles without it sounding like a musical mess.
As a whole, this EP is beautiful. It’s a showcase for Starr’s creative journey and the perfect antidote to current pop music that’s being autotuned to death and then peddled to the masses. It’s an EP that fans will savour until Starr releases an album, listening on repeat until they know all the words by heart.
Written by Rowan Montgomery
June 24th - The Toff in Town - Melbourne
June 30th - Brighton Up Bar - Sydney
July 7th - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane