Los Angleles based pop-songstress Pennybirdrabbit first crashed into mainstream consciousness through a number of vocal features on tracks from the likes of her friends Skrillex, The M Machine and countless other producers for the past few years. Although many casual listeners are familiar with P.B.R. as a featured vocalist with the smattering of guest spots, our favorite lost-boy alien princess hasn’t neglected her solo project in the slightest. First, in 2012, Penny’s debut extended-play Treehouse took us all by surprise, showcasing an intrinsic ability to pair a powerfully soaring, yet girlish coo with a sample of differing instrumentation. Now, in 2013,  this latest collection of songs conjoin to create the Safer EP (out now on Big Beat Records) which was another step forward in the young artist’s evolution, again covering a wide range of production styles, but in a much cleaner and polished package.

Whereas Treehouse felt like a talented bedroom recording, every track contained within Safer comes across as if it was backed by a complete professional studio; and on that note, a group of sound engineers with a collective intent to bring out the most of those vibrant, rangey windpipes. “Dumbutton” leads the way, and immediately had my attention in no less than two bars. With a hooky synth line punctuated by a galloping, hollow drum kick, “Dumbutton” had piqued my interest without the use of Ms. Penny at all. Safe to say, once the tiny-teen heartthrob soundly makes her appearance, “Dumbutton” evolves into an emotive and pensive slow burning pop ballad, setting the scene for the duration of Safer. 

“Run” backs up “Dumbutton” as a more dancefloor focused cut, putting Pennybird’s melancholic lyricism front and center on an upbeat synth-pop beat before scooting its way into some boisterous bass work, which no doubt some of her contemporaries had a slight influence on. Again, the slick production had my ears and cerebral cortex all wrapped up, and the only image permeating when I listen to this one is of that pink-haired nightingale, adorned in a gown, belting out the words in a pitch black room. Lovely stuff really.

The EP’s titular track, and third in the pecking order, “Safer” is perhaps the most  emotionally expansive tune within the collection. Digging into the darker side of love has been a gift, musically in every single original production and “Safer” pulls heavily on those post-breakup bluesy feelings inside all of us. That’s just it though, Pennybirdrabbit’s lyrics are so relatable to seemingly any walk of life, but they come across as if someone is bringing these old feelings up for the first time. Listening to “Safer” is akin to a shared late night conversation across a pillow, that only the two of you would ever know about. Prompting the review of this album was the release of “Safer”‘s music video yesterday, so if you were digging on this one, please check out the official video at the bottom of this post.

“Soulsucker” Safer’s fourth track, or the “Senior” year if you relate the four song EP to a university tenure, rounds it out in a dark, but groovy manner. The vocals are played with effectively over tinny snare kick while Penny weaves a tale of well… just that… a “Soulsucker”. The type of woman who would make you love her, just to rip an emotional heart out. I think most of us may have been down this road before, and it was a lovely way to close out her latest body of work.

Definitely listen to all four tracks on Safer  as a single piece of work if you have the chance, because I’m sure somewhere throughout our day, we’ll have thirty minutes to soothe our souls to some well produced poppy, but contently deep music.

’pennybirdrabbit – dumbutton (safer ep)’
’pennybirdrabbit – run (safer ep)’
’pennybirdrabbit – safer (safer ep)’
’pennybirdrabbit – soul sucker (safer ep)’


Related items::