The title of Phoebe Nir’s latest EP, Side Hustle, is apt for at least two reasons. For one, it evokes movement, a movement that is very present on the bouncy and textured songs that Nir has crafted. Second, the track for which the EP takes its name is a highlight — a jazzy shout out to the show business influences that Phoebe Nir so clearly draws from. The track introduces the second half of the EP, which move into similar style experimentation.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The EP begins with a cover of Iggy Pop’s iconic “Lust for Life”. The grittiness is swapped out for a twisted sort of bubblegum rock. Nir brings a joyous flare that exhibits her true lust for life and introduces her diverse vocal range. Horns open “Joe!”, which brings narrative to the mix in explaining a relationship gone wrong. Here, we can see why Phoebe Nir has a musical in development: high energy vocals with a storytelling flair, she gets her emotions stuck in your head. “Film School” has a more classic rock sound, a little more garage, a little edgier.
“Side Hustle” breaks into “Broken Parts” which brings the tempo down at first, simplifying the EP’s often heavy production into just drums and vocals, then adding layers slowly to create a build. The EP closes with “Oh Ana”, which has the most depth, the most soul as the narrator sings to the woman who took her man. Nir’s vocals are softer, and at times this feels like her strongest vocal performance on the album.