boygenius, boygenius EP

Matador Records

boygenius had a lot to live up to: namely, the legacies of their own highly established members. Yet the American supergroup – consisting of singer-songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus – rose to the challenge, creating an impressive and melancholic six-track EP that not only pays homage to each artist’s individual style but also offers something entirely new to fans both existing and new.

Unlike other supergroups of the past, all three members of boygenius are known for vocals and guitar. But no song feels overcrowded; each track is stripped to the wood, with minimal production or flashy additives. This is best heard on the closing track “Ketchum, ID,” a lonely, low-fi ballad on the isolation of touring, pared down to just an acoustic guitar for accompaniment and allowing the three’s voices to shine.

And while each solo verse is dynamic and poetic in ways unique to each artist, boygenius shines most in tandem. The three slide seemingly effortlessly into a soothing three-part harmony, with Dacus taking tenor, Bridgers on alto and Baker covering soprano. The staggered climax of album opener “Bite The Hand” is especially magnificent, opening the EP with a dramatic, intense flourish.

boygenius – EP is a powerful contribution to the indie-folk genre and an intelligent one; by showcasing the styles of Baker, Bridgers and Dacus side by side, they both refute the comparisons often made between the three and embrace them, merging their talents to form a wholly original, raw and poignant project.

—Graeme Houssin

Published in Volume 73, Number 9 of The Uniter (November 8, 2018)

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