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Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger In The Alps (Album Review)

Friday, 29 September 2017 Written by Helen Payne

Phoebe Bridgers might be in her early 20s, and ‘Stranger in the Alps’ might be her first LP, but it sounds like the product of a wealth of experience.

The album is sad. Each song is a three to five minute snippet from her life - mostly melancholy scenes that match the tender and vulnerable sound. We hear of a friend’s heroin overdose on the delicately finger-picked Funeral, of another who always chooses to drown during a game of Would You Rather on the track of the same name. More generally, we hear of the haunting perils of falling in love.

On Motion Sickness, strangely one of the more upbeat songs on the album, Bridgers’ analogy for heartbreak  combines with lo-fi tremolo guitars to express the angst, numbness and yearning of a break-up perfectly.

"I have emotional motion sickness," she sings during it. "Somebody roll the windows down. There are no words in the English language I could scream to drown you out.”

Georgia is welcoming in the same manner, with hints of grumbling guitars ready to go like a sprinter waiting for the pistol. It teases with false starts in the first chorus until we’re two thirds of the way though the track, when it becomes all-encompassing. Bridgers then calms it back down with arpeggio-style vocals that tie the track together.

Likewise, the harmonies and high pitched chorus on Chelsea deliver a vibe reminiscent of early Daughter. The subtle beats give the track an extra unexpected depth, and the resonating reverb underlay makes it more and more inviting.

Aside from all its beauty - the raw (albeit perfect) vocals and the wide open soundscapes of a full band behind her - there are the occasional sticking points. Sporadic sound effects that accompany the aesthetic curation of the music are distracting. On the opener, Smoke Signals, an aeroplane takes off above the song while further in, on Scott Street, the ding of a bicycle bell can be heard, along with the distinct whistle of a steam train. These effects feel unnecessary, and take away from the sincerity of the songs.

‘Stranger in the Alps’ plays like a storybook, each page bringing life to scenes from Bridgers’ past, including songs written at the age of 15. Yet it is undertaken with such clarity that the sadness becomes accepted by the end, and better received with each listen. Its message : embrace your tears, your childhood memories, your heartbreaks, as they make you who you are.

Phoebe Bridgers Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed October 18 2017 - MANCHESTER Soup Kitchen
Thu October 19 2017 - GLASGOW Broadcast
Fri October 27 2017 - BRIGHTON Unitarian Church

Click here to compare & buy Phoebe Bridgers Tickets at Stereoboard.com.



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