Ruby Smyth, the one-woman-show behind Trophy Wife, has plenty to say by way of her debut EP ‘Art’, which displays a diverse range of influences from artists such as Steely Dan, Debussy and Lizzo,
The impressive musicality shown on On The Phone sees Smyth harken back to the upbeat energy of Prince and early Whitney Houston. It’s clear from On The Phone alone, that Smyth has created a piece of work proficient in expressing “big ass emotions” such as love, joy, and in the case of Birthday, longing.
Birthday plays out much like an early 80s Clapton ballad being covered in 1990 by an unlikely pairing of Joni Mitchell and Slash. Smyth articulates her struggles with losing a lover before resigning to the fact that: “It only means something to me / But I’ll still call you on your birthday.”
Ruby Smyth is at her lyrical best on Beauty Queen. A slow, groovy song that speaks about the difficulties of maintaining both private and public personas in the limelight, with specific attention to female beauty standards.
However, Italy has the most to say. The gentle, hushed tones of ASMR vocals, swelling slide guitar, and soft and sparse djembe, signifying a peaceful and relaxed listen. And when distorted power chords unexpectedly join the fray, Italy becomes a passionate sermon letting the listener know; while Trophy Wife intends to operate within the sphere of Pop music, she will not be bound by any of its rules – If she wants to let rip a la Gary Moore, she’s going to let rip.
‘Art’ is a promising debut EP. If there is a downside, perhaps it’s that there doesn’t seem to be a consistent sonic thread throughout. No definable Trophy Wife “sound”. But maybe that’s essentially what Smyth is trying to say. Maybe that’s the beauty of Art.