Liz Phair: Soberish assessment – forgettable coffee-table pop
It’s nearly three many years since Liz Phair introduced uncompromisingly frank lyrics and a feminist sensibility to the boys’ membership that was the early 90s US alt-rock scene. In her first album in 11 years, she is reunited with Brad Wooden, producer of her profession excessive factors, 1993’s Exile in Guyville and the next yr’s Whip-Good. However anyone hoping for a return to the times when she was a genuinely thrilling proposition might be upset: the main target right here is much extra on the mainstream pop and soft-rock of Phair’s post-94 oeuvre than the spiky indie that preceded it.
It’s not as excruciating as 2010’s Funstyle, with its misfiring experiments with dance beats and pitchshifted vocals, however not less than that was entertainingly dangerous in locations. Whereas it’s clear from Soberish that Phair nonetheless is aware of her manner round an arresting confessional lyric – witness Good Aspect’s opening: “There are such a lot of methods to fuck up a life/ I’ve tried to be authentic” – musically, that is unforgivably mediocre. A memorable refrain will sometimes seem from nowhere, as on Hey Lou (and Soul Sucker wins factors for its surprising nod to Blue Boy’s Bear in mind Me), however for probably the most half the coffee-table pop on supply right here is exceptional just for being so forgettable. Tracks equivalent to In There and The Sport sound like mechanically recovered leftovers from Madonna’s Ray of Mildalbum periods; extra upbeat opener Spanish Doorways is Carly Rae Jepsen as reimagined by outdated AI software program. Finest prevented.