Phoebe Green’s new EP I Can’t Cry For You demonstrates a different, darker side to the Mancunian singer-songwriter’s music.
Signed to Chess Club Records (also home to the likes of Alfie Templeman and BLOXX), Green has been quietly fine-tuning her sound over the past four years, following the release of her debut album 2:00 AM back in 2016. She has grown in confidence with each subsequent single, making a name for herself within the British indie scene by supporting bands such as Swim Deep on tour. I Can’t Cry For You, however, marks a step away from some of the lighter indie-pop material that Green has previously written.
The EP’s atmospheric and contemplative opener ‘Reinvent’, released as a single at the end of July, is perhaps the strongest song on the EP. Wailing guitars and brooding synths complement Green’s silky voice throughout the song, adding an extra layer of emotion to the already hard-hitting lyrics. Like the soundtrack to a coming-of-age movie, ‘Reinvent’ conjures up images of late night, impulsive haircuts and melancholic car rides: it is both a sentimental ode to teenage angst and a scathing commentary on social pressures.
From ‘Reinvent’, the EP slides into the aptly named ‘Grit’, which combines harsh and distorted instrumentals with Phoebe Green’s soft vocals. The chorus lurches and twists, creating an ominous atmosphere and emphasising the song’s themes of paranoia and jealousy. ‘Golden Girl’ then opens with a grungy bass line and heavier drums. This track continues the thread of self-deprecation that runs through the whole of I Can’t Cry For You, with Green admitting that she “hates vulnerability” and “would rather die than unfold”. These lyrics echo those in the bridge of ‘Reinvent’ (“I don’t wanna be an open book, it’s got me in a mess/ I would rather be a liar, for them to only see my best”), establishing this EP as a paradoxically confident statement of self-doubt.
Closing the EP, ‘A World I Forgot’ showcases a more electronic side to Phoebe Green’s sound. There is a touch of Billie Eilish and a hint of Drug Store Romeos in the understated, sliding vocals and gloomy instrumentals, and the song’s gothic feel is reminiscent of some of The Ninth Wave’s recent material.
I Can’t Cry For You feels like Phoebe Green taking stock after a difficult year, acknowledging and leaving behind any self-criticism or bitterness while carving out her own niche within the indie genre.