Phoebe Hurst Music
I first saw – and heard – Phoebe Hurst through her looping videos and a live performance where she was on stage live-looping her voice. She’s talented and tenacious and her real skill is that she’s got a great voice. She’s worked hard to create this debut EP – via Kickstarter funding and touring and such – and the result…well…it’s taken me a while to get used to this version of Phoebe and her music. I kinda want the looped voice and vocal percussion back. A song like Honey, Who Knew works better in that link in the opening line of this review than on the EP where slinky drums turn it toward a more dated sound. There’s an irony here – in chasing the sound of right now Hurst has ended up making some of her songs sound like tunes trundled out by the likes of Kosheen from up to a decade ago.
You still get the power of the voice – that’s here. And there are one or two very good moments. The chilled closer, Lessons, is a highlight. Smooth Talker too, with its nearly-nightclub soul-pop. But the songs aren’t yet anything more than exercises – which is probably why they worked so well when Hurst was wrapping her tonsils around them, stretching her voice out and around the songs, looping and approaching the songs from either end, slowly building up layers in support. Here they’re a little thin.
Lessons is a really wonderful piece though – the title track. A really strong outro to the album, it builds, the voice soars, some of the quieter moments as the song is creeping up almost recall the best bits of Peter Gabriel’s career. Elsewhere though some of the programming and feels a bit cereal-box. And the non-committal hip-hop segue in Better of Me had me thinking of Spice Girls slanging it out rather than anything actually cutting edge.
Still, she’s young, she’s out there and doing it and the tour in support of this will be very interesting. I’m still hopeful that when she finds something to write to really match up with her voice she’ll hit on the winner.