Supergroup beginnings are rarely humble, but the self-titled EP from Boygenius feels just that. Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker tested the waters with their inevitably strong collaborations on this debut EP. Indie rock collaborations like all the ones before it, but with a subtle and independent charm that Bridgers, Dacus and Baker bring to the table. Sloppy Jane is still the high point of Bridgers’ projects outside of her solo work, but Boygenius makes for an interesting, easy-going listen. For those that were desperate in that gap between Stranger in the Alps and Punisher, then here it is. But Boygenius also serves as a great example of Dacus and Baker’s works too, in fact, it shows that they have the edge in some parts over the third, popular member.
Rocking, ready charms of Bite The Hand leave a strong opening on the hands of Boygenius. A trio with a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as that of the other members. What an opening track Bite The Hand is though, an incredible rise from three artists who, at the time, were still cementing themselves as the fresh face of independent singer-songwriter rock. There is a fading harshness to this first track, a heavier turn on the guitar work that lingers on. Those charming tones follow on through the bad dreams and forgetfulness of Me & My Dog, a track that is anything but. Longing reflection on Me & My Dog’s titular companion comfort a run through remorseful settings, and it marks another strong entry on a six-track EP.
Where Souvenir is no reminder of anything particular on a first run-through, the standard rock numbers that underline Stay Down mark a nice change of pace for the B-Side. Stay Down is nothing short of a triumph. Constant repetition of the title, lined with sincere and powerful instrumental work, marks the best part of the EP. It gives flow and style to the guitar work, with Baker leading the charge on a defiant track that boasts that fine line between defiance and destruction. Much of Boygenius aims for that, targeting the feeling of isolation and disastrous fragility while also understanding the rebirth and optimism that comes from those shaky moments. Salt In The Wound does well with that, with cut cheeks and reverberated guitars making quite the moody number.
No tricks, no swerves, Boygenius are all genuine with their intention and glorification of the self. Six tracks cement themselves as touching reflections of normalising vulnerability to new experiences. Maddeningly good at times, and if this is the standard Boygenius can continue with their later releases, then listeners have gained themselves an incredible supergroup. There is always a chance, a slim chance, that this is it, though. That Boygenius is the peak of their efforts. If so, revel in the range and experience the mighty explosions of guitar-heavy work that feature so frequently in the discographies of each member. Eating alone is the same as being low, as Ketchum, ID professes, but there is no feeling of loneliness when experiencing the isolation put forward by the warmth of Boygenius.