Review: Phebe Starr – Chronicles

The six-track release from Phebe Starr  gives an insight into her own little world; her insecurities, her strengths and her dreams.

The EP kicks off with Starr’s most successful single ‘Feel My Love’. With stunning harp scales amidst harrowing lyrics , it instantly compels the listener, creating a truly ethereal, heart-breaking tale which switches in an instant into an extremely powerful drum-heavy chorus reminiscent of sounds produced by Florence and The Machine. A definite earworm in the making, its lyrics are somewhat repetitive, but  not irritatingly so.

‘Two Hearts’ is another of Starr’s single releases with a jarring contrast in lyric quality. Verses which weave beautiful tales of self-doubt and a losing faith alongside disappointingly generic choruses about two hearts beating like a drum and colliding into one make the track truly original. Not the best selection for single release, it showcases the more repetitive, simplistic aspects of the EP rather than the intelligent lyrics and interesting melodies of other tracks, but is suggestive of Starr’s artistic potential.

Rebellious dark pop anthem ‘They Keep Telling Me’, with the exception of a few brief vocal stumblings, is absolutely brilliant – an unapologetically indiscreet comment on the controlling music industry in which she finds herself. There is a definite continuity between Starr’s strong feminist presence on social media, in interviews and musically which confirms her strength of character.

‘Lavender Scars’ is an intensely honest exploration into the singer’s issues. Echoing melodies and mysterious lyrics blend together to form a haunting ode to whomever helped her through her most difficult times.

A return to the funky, dark pop of ‘They Keep Telling Me’ is fifth track ‘Dream’. In spite of its arguably misplaced interjections of harp playing, the track boasts some radically abstract imagery. 

Capturing the true essence of the EP’s autobiographical nature, ‘Wonder’ is gloriously elegant, its delicacy contrasted with punchy drum beats ensuring Starr’s force does not waver, even in her most vulnerable moments.

Chronicles EP is an extremely promising start for the Australian musician, and with 2.5 million streams on her first track it seems that her hard work is already beginning to pay off.

Abigail Herbert

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