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Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Phoebe Rings: Phoebe Rings EP

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Phoebe Rings: Phoebe Rings EP

New-ish kids on the block, Phoebe Rings are the Auckland dream-pop grouping of Crystal Choi (vocals, keys), Alex Freer (drums), Benjamin Locke (bass), and Simeon Kavanagh-Vincent (guitars).

Formed in 2019 around Choi’s musical predilections, the quartet have since been performing and working away on this debut self-titled EP. A super-group of sorts, all the musicians have appeared on albums by numerous artists, and their combined experiences have resulted something enticingly unique. ‘Phoebe Rings’ is all about the sound, with mixing by Tom Healy and Bob Frisbee, and mastering by Jonathan Pearce (The Beths), professionals who know how to make a great-sounding record.

With sonic references to Cocteau Twins and Stereolab, Phoebe Rings (the band) have created an enchanting, hook-filled EP of smart pop songs, with that element of dreaminess carried throughout. This is especially clear in Spissky (inspired by a castle in Slovakia), where the melody floats above the chiming, almost sparkling, harmonic backing. The dreaminess is amplified by vocal reverb, a sonic element that drenches Ocean, the EP’s one live track.

‘Phoebe Rings’ isn’t only about dreamy backings and reverbed vocals. Cheshire (about a cat in a particular literary classic) boasts verses that sweep and swoop, and a pulsing rhythm that moves the song along, while the city pop-esque January Blues possesses a slinky groove, with Hammond organ underpinning Choi’s light-as-air vocals about being depressed in summer.

‘Phoebe Rings’ has been a favourite find, and my only criticism is that the EP finishes all too soon. A full album next please…