Biig Piig – ‘The Sky Is Bleeding’ EP review: the queen of reinvention enters her “sxc dom phase”

A move to LA and unfettered self-belief results in Smyth's most diverse and assertive collection yet

Much like her admirer Billie Eilish, the alternative popstar Biig Piig is entering a different era with a platinum blonde haircut and an emboldened sound. Her new EP ‘The Sky Is Bleeding’ is the latest addition to the Irish-born, Spanish-speaking musician’s unpredictable, but excellent discography, which so far encompasses collaborations with the London collective NiNE8 as well as skilful experimentations in drum’n’bass (‘Switch’) and reggaetón (‘Cuenta Lo’).

Smyth first made her name with introspective, often lovelorn storytelling on 2018’s ‘Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol.1’ EP, and has since gained admiration from Bella Hadid, Lil Nas X and Virgil Abloh for her nonchalant rapping and musical versatility. In contrast to the tentative melancholy that defined her earlier work, ‘The Sky Is Bleeding’ is a David-Lynch inspired, all grown up project dedicated to Biig Piig’s “sxc dom phase”. Speaking about her sexual awakening on the EP, Smyth says: “I’ve let myself be free and open about situations and fantasies of mine… I wanted to take the listener as close as I could to some of the intimate and vulnerable places I go alone”.

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Intimate is the defining word for ‘The Sky Is Bleeding’. Smyth’s characteristically chill vocals are even more hushed than usual on the EP, at times doting on ‘Remedy’ (“is that everything you need from me?”), or dominating on ‘Lavender’ (“you want it”). Jazz jam ‘Tarzan’ elegantly layers sweet-nothings, conjuring a clandestine meeting between lovers “floating through candle light”. When the seductive whispers fall into mumble on ‘Baby Zombies’, however, Biig Piig’s ear for melody saves the day with an irresistible Warpaint-style hook.

If ‘The Sky Is Bleeding’ sounds like the work of a hipster LA band, it’s because Smyth relocated there from London between lockdowns. Moving beyond the lo-fi bedroom beats of her first EPs, Biig Piig carries off the front-woman transition with Californian cool: “looking for a better life / living in the City of Angels”, she coos over guitar lines on ‘Drugs’.

Elsewhere, there’s amped-up 90s grunge on ‘American Beauty’– the record’s sexiest cut, which explores the realms of a same-sex relationship (“baby, you’re so pretty / we should keep the lights on”).  The song’s intro may recall ‘Californication’ by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but Smyth makes it her own with a lyrical blend of temptation and innocence.  Closing on a transcendental note, ‘The Sky Is Bleeding’ shows just why Biig Piig is the indie queen of reinvention.

Details

  • Release date: May 21
  • Record label: Sony Music
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