2020 will be remembered for many of the wrong reasons, but one of the chinks of light at the end of the tunnel has been a thread of releases made by women who’re pleasing themselves, most notably Jehnny Beths’ To Love Is To Live and Fiona Apple’s wildly inventive Fetch The Bolt Cutters.
Phoebe Bridgers debut album Stranger In The Alps didn’t traverse as much territory and became noted more for Motion Sickness, a song which dealt with the emotionally abusive treatment by her former boyfriend and mentor Ryan Adams. Having been prolific elsewhere since – working with Conor Oberst as Better Oblivion Community Centre and also being a part of Boygenius – when it came time to write a follow up, life, experience and self analysis all coalesced around a very different record.
Punisher is far more diverse than it’s predecessor, it’s peaks and troughs – from the anarchic closer I Know The End to the hauntingly feint ballad Moon Song – the work of a creator both making experiments and embracing an era of near-permanent turbulence. There’s still a knowing modernity to it, as on the breathless opener Garden Song she confesses, ‘And when I grow up, I’m gonna look up/From my phone and see my life”, but overall Punisher carries itself as a work with few peers and hopefully sets out a template for others on which to embellish.
You can read the full review here.