Like an open book, Punisher is one of this year's sincerest albums, deliberately breaking the codes of intimacy and not afraid to display its fears and questions. It is a totally immersive journey in the company of the prodigious Phoebe Bridgers.
There is no doubt, and we were aware of it, that Phoebe Bridgers is not only talented, she is a hard worker. She has been building a solid track record for four years now. Punisher is an album she mainly made while she was on tour. As if she was on her own. Very expected, the result is even beyond her expectations. With no real surprises, this second effort is a musical continuation of the first Stranger in The Alps. Globally, it has the same indie Folk / indie Rock formula and the early fans will not be destabilized. On the other hand, Punisher is much more accomplished. We can clearly notice that she and her team have passed a stage, raising her level of writing and storytelling, not to mention the wonderful production that amines and embellishes the album.
What a slap in the face... Musically, there's a part of me that's not really surprised, there's the comfort of a well-established indie folk, without any musical revolution. Not the slightest crumb. There's a feeling in the foreground that the team does as little as possible. However, there is a multitude of fascinating details and smooth sounds that are to be savoured. There is this almost cinematic side to the sensations you feel when a note or a chord passes through your body. This shiver that paralyses you. It is this "minimalism" that allows you to bewitch yourself, to plunge you into the depths of its world. It is a very atmospheric work that has what it takes to captivate you completely. The best example is Garden Song, which illustrates precisely these words, becoming the central piece of Punisher.
Thematically, there are a lot of songs and subjects that revolve around fear, apprehension and relationships. This shows the anxious side that runs through her, which came out during her tour, and which obviously plays an important role in Punisher. It is precisely when you are "isolated" or far from your "cocoon" that the effect is amplified. However, although these lyrics display a sense of vulnerability, it also proves that, despite everything, she exudes confidence and courage that allows her to hold on. It even becomes contagious to the listener. Phoebe Bridges delivers sincere poetry that is consistently brilliant in the multiple emotions it emanates, both in its writing and in its interpretation. It's as if it springs from you too. There is the purely explicit veil, and last but not least, there are all the hidden things with which she has left the door "ajar". In conclusion, Punisher is a "reserved" album that has so much to offer. Once you get past the barriers and obstacles, it shows an incredible power.