By naming their debut album the record, boygenius hammer home the excitement and scope that comes with the greater run-time than their debut EP, boygenius, a project with so much merit even in its brevity. That being said, the comparatively sprawling length and dynamic deftness of the record carry us on a wilding journey across terrains that the shorter, distilled folk-pop songs of the EP could never tackle.
With Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus’s respective reputations as crafty songwriters in their own unique ways, few would have expected any less than torn-up throats from belting out choruses or banishing any prospect of dry eyes, and the record does not disappoint. With the expected excellence of Catherine Marks’s co-production, the group has the tools to thrive.
From the delicate vocal harmonies of ‘Without You Without Them’, the groove-led rock of ‘$20’, and the gently shuddering circularity of the guitars on ‘Emily I’m Sorry’, the tone is set: no two songs will be the same. On ‘Leonard Cohen’, Dacus carries an unusually jaggy melody on a quiet track with charmingly little structure; a change that keeps us on our toes.
Finally, ‘Letter to an Old Poet’ closes the project with raw catharsis, and though it is built incrementally throughout the album, the purgative release was still difficult to prepare for. The emotional pinnacle of the track and album is carried by the familiarity of a recycled melody from the track ‘Me & My Dog’, featured on their 2019 EP boygenius. It is resurrected in a statement of personal growth: no longer does the hook deliver the crushing wail ‘I wanna be emaciated’– instead, the gloriously simple ‘I wanna be happy’.
the record is out now via Interscope Records, and boygenius will be performing 27th August at Connect festival