Phoebe Jean And The Air Force’s new-age pop album, Heartbreakers, begins with “King Size Bed,” where the female vocalist’s mumbling is barely audible. It’s a super low-key synth song that drones on for about five minutes and never actually gets good. Immediately following the record opener is “Circle One,” a musical interlude. This creates a pleasant ambiance as the band draws from the sounds of organs for inspiration, although it is entirely synthesized.
Hip-hop influences are apparent on beat-oriented songs like “Day Is Gone.” By the fourth song, “Luvz 4 Real,” vocalist Phoebe Jean is practically rapping. The rap-style storytelling picks up again on “Crooked Cop,” where there is a short break between the rambunctious beats while the lyricist speaks about the inevitability of crime on the streets. This sound is a blend of synth, spaced-out pop, and something reminiscent of ‘90s rap beats with the singer whining indecipherably when she’s not rapping. “December 20th” is the second musical interlude on the album that occurs right before “Surefire,” where once again you cannot wholly make out what is being sung due to the volume of the background sounds.
There are no doubts that Phoebe Jean And The Air Force’s music would be popular in the club scene, but as far as music just for listening, it is headache inducing. On “Package,” Jean’s vocals are accompanied only by a piano, changing up the pattern of this record. The soundscape of Heartbreakers also includes elements from what sounds like the audio coming from an arcade game to something like the intro to an obnoxious dubstep song. Peaking with its last number, “Cover Girl,” where the vocalist actually projects her voice for the first time on the record, Phoebe Jean And The Air Force do not leave the listener wanting any more.
In A Word: Unnerving