Underwhelming second glances at leftover material are bound to come from major collaborations. Their release is inevitable and important, mainly as it will be some time before boygenius returns. Whether they love touring together or not, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker are set to head back to their dormant solo careers, left on the hot plate as they toured the world with a fine release, The Record. The Rest, then, is just that. Leftovers spilling out onto a brief EP which pales in comparison to the debut of the trio. They are better than this but The Rest is better than most. Light pieces from an apparent supergroup who offered up some of their best works to date together just a few months ago.
Does The Rest detract from The Record? Not exactly, no. It is easy to hear why these four pieces were left off of the original recording but hard to hear what is wrong with any of them. Black Hole would feel out of place but is a wonderful experience, the charming orchestral tones it takes, the instrumental power and commitment from the trio in their saddening experiences, broadcast to equally as remorseful listeners. The Rest covers the same ground as the fully-fledged album, and there is no harm in having four more songs to listen to. Short and ever-so-sweet, there is an independent feeling to The Rest despite it being made up of castaway extra bits.
Half-built construction sites and those bits and pieces of everyday beauty are looked in on for Afraid of Heights though it strikes a similar tone to Black Hole. Acoustic or light flourishes of short and seemingly half-baked songs rushed over the finish line for the sake of moving more material on. There is a conclusiveness to The Rest which works so well for the trio. It is a necessary release, absolutely, it exorcises the leftover lyrics, those last few pages which felt disjointed or unfit for use further down the line. Inevitably bittersweet moments bring about a surprising entropy in its latter half. Voyager and Powers do little harm. The former is a tender piece, the latter a tender piece. In fact, there is little difference though Powers lingers a tad grating with its notes of nuclear reactions and the equivalent, loving experience sounding tired the longer it goes on.
Nothing immediately impressive nor embarrassing. These are the bits and pieces which either mark the early moments of an album plan or the latter stages of seeing where failed avenues of thought can go. The Rest is just that, the rest of the material from a strong era for the supergroup. When and where they’ll come back is unknowable, though it would surely be sooner rather than later after the massive movement and shift in tone their first fully-fledged release together brought on. For now, though, the excitement of solo material awaits. Although it is not of supreme quality or anywhere close to the quality of The Record, it marks a fitting end to this iteration, which is now placed on ice until the next bout of brilliance from Baker, Bridgers and Dacus.