I made the mistake of waiting until ‘Punisher’ to start listening to Phoebe Bridgers. In doing so, we missed one incredible debut from now one of the biggest names in rock.
‘Stranger In The Alps’ is a subdued yet startling folk-rock record loaded with humour, vulnerability and the now-signature emotion of Bridgers. The blueprint for ‘Punisher’ is here in spades, and with hindsight only grows stronger.
At its best, the record is a masterclass in emotive storytelling. ‘Funeral’ remains heartbreaking with every listen. ‘Smoke Signals’ is cinematic and intimate, and ‘Motion Sickness’ is her second best radio song before ‘Kyoto’. ‘Chelsea’ is a hidden gem and the closer ‘You Missed My Heart’ perfectly closes off a quiet rollercoaster of intimacy and isolation.
Funnily enough, the album's title is a censored version of a sodomy joke from The Big Lebowski. I still don’t see the connection, but it doesn’t change just how great the record is. The album is simple and moving, and is a must for any fan who was stupid enough as me to miss it in 2017.
‘Stranger In The Alps’ and ‘Punisher’ are available in the Store now. Touring Feb 2023.