EP Review: Passerine – More Human

Monday, June 19, 2017

Melbourne trio, Passerine, made up of vocalist Phoebe Dubar, drummer Alex Gooding and producer Ben Murphy, have finally released their EP. More Human is half an hour of soulful vocals, electronic experimentation and beats that anyone should be happy to hear at a club. 

Passerine plunge straight in with title track ‘More Human.’ This is a cold song and feels like an overwhelming opener, but showcases Passerine’s passion and desire to experiment with sounds. 

‘Synthetic Heart’ is the highlight from this EP. It’s electronic yet emotive. The ambient tones during the first couple of verses ease us into the groove, allowing the intensity to climb as Dubar reaches the chorus and drums accompanied by overlapping vocals add to the texture of the song. This is what Passerine does best — using all their talents together to create an ambience of unique intensity 

The sweetness underpinning ‘White Shadows and Grey Light’ gives us a glimpse of the emotion Passerine can bring to their music. The song is well-structured and works as a narrative, with Dubar’s vocals providing a melancholy juxtaposition to the upbeat, yet cold, synths. 

‘Undergrowth’ is an interesting juxtaposition to ‘More Human.’ The piano floating in and out softens the mood and calms the listener. The gentle drumming renders a sultry feel. The vocalising in the background, as the electro takes centre-stage, is beautiful. Choosing to fade out at this point in the song allows the listener to feel like we have gone on a small, intergalactic journey and now Passerine are leaving us. 

At this point, the suite of remixes feels separate to the rest of the album. Perhaps where More Human lacks coherence is in its inability to choose whether it is ambient or hard. The beat holding the song together lacks punch for most of the song. A smoother, loungier sound feels like the stronger pull in the EP and at the time, the two tones don’t work together as much as they confuse. Passerine’s EP showcase their ability to do both of these genres well, however, this collection of songs feels like it never reaches the power the group’s talents promise.

Written by Iryna Byelyayeva