Bee and her creative partner Harry Starbuck are clearly intent on tackling music with great imagination and a sense of the possible that you don’t hear from strictly commercial entertainers, but there’s many songs on Find Us Where We’re Hiding are accessible to a wide swath of listeners.
The pop, rock, and electro leanings of the album come through from the start. The opener “Boy in the Hood” takes its time to settle into a recognizable groove, but exerts a lot of authority when it does thanks to the depth of the duo’s sonic treatment. Rarely are the songs you hear from PHOSPHENES just one thing. Songs “Girls Trip”, “Breathe”, and “Orange Vox” are the more commercially minded of the duo’s songs while still keeping them close to the cutting edge thanks to the way they blend judicious use of guitar and assertive percussion patterns with shimmering waves and swells of electronica. There are some instrumental tracks featured on the release, as well, and “People You Love Become Ghosts” and the later “Galaxy Jump” are the duo’s finest efforts in this vein. The first of the two songs, arguably, has the strong sense of atmospherics, but the imagination and playfulness behind “Galaxy Jump” makes it one of the more enjoyable, less demonstrably “heavy”, numbers on Find Us Where We’re Hiding.
“Heaven Looks Alright” and, to a lesser extent, later songs like “Motions” and “Angel” seem to be more aimed at achieving a balance between the pure electronica influences and pop song strengths present in PHOSPHENES’ musical pedigree. The album’s final song, “One Trick Pony”, is a standout for how it uses the electronic side of the duo’s music in a much more straight forward way than we’ve heard thus far and the percussion follows a consistent path with only subtle variations rather than upending listener’s expectations throughout the song like we hear on many earlier tracks. Julee Bee began her journey in the music world as a writer, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that she’s been able to find her footing as a lyricist, but it’s breathtaking how well her words dovetail into the moods swirling within Starbuck’s compositions. PHOSPHENES’ Find Us Where We’re Hiding is a truly unique effort in a modern era that doesn’t see enough unique efforts and there’s no question ir provides them with an ample foundation to build upon for future efforts.
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