When I reflect on the musical regrets in my life, several moments stand out. Like missing Lady Gaga performing as the opening act (!!) for The Pussycat Dolls at Rod Laver Arena in 2009, or skipping the launch of local band PIGEON's EP at Boney in 2014, led by Danny Harley (aka The Kite String Tangle). The biggest of all still haunts me to this day: not acquiring a copy of Snakadaktal's debut album, Sleep In The Water, on its limited blue vinyl pressing.


A decade on and Snakadaktal remains, in my opinion, one of the greatest bands to grace the Australian music landscape. Their melodic, dream-pop arrangements were a formative soundtrack to my early twenties and I was particularly captivated by the tender vocals and lyrical sincerity of Phoebe Cockburn/Lou. Following the disbanding of Snaka, I was obviously thrilled to see Phoebe continue in duo form with bandmate Joey Clough as Two People. To say that I was fucking delighted when Phoebe popped up in my Instagram DM's in May 2022 to share her debut solo single 'We Don't Talk', would be an understatement. 


Here we are now with Phoebe's debut album, Marmalade, a breezy collection of alt-pop arrangements chronicling love and loss. Each note has space to breathe, evoking a kind of melancholy that resonates like a gentle ache in my chest. Phoebe's storytelling carries a deep intimacy and introspection, delivered with such warmth and rawness that I feel like I'm sitting on her bedroom floor, where she's just handed me pages ripped from her journal to read.


"Something You Were Trying" is the obvious highlight with its infectious melodies and the delicacy of "Love You Now" really makes for a strong opener, setting the tone for a kind of record where you sit with every chord and every word. As for "Stupid" - devastatingly relatable. This is an album that frankly, stares into my soul. My only critique being that I wish it was longer, but leaving listeners wanting more is a pretty wonderful problem for an artist to have, right?!


All in all, Marmalade proves that Phoebe was always destined to shine as a solo artist and being the sentimental girlie that I am, I cannot help but notice a beautiful full-circle quality to all of this. From launching her debut album a decade after Snakadaktal disbanded, to performing it at Northcote Social Club—the very venue where Snaka played their final show. As for me, while I missed out on that coveted blue vinyl pressing, I maintain a firm, loving grip on my orange vinyl pressing of Phoebe's debut.

Essay by Bridget Hustwaite

Bridget Hustwaite is a Melbourne-based music presenter, author and podcaster. Hustwaite first made her mark in the music and media industry in 2012 by beating 6000 hopefuls to reach the top 2 in Channel V’s Presenter Search. It was Bridget’s first time in front of a camera but her passion and music knowledge shone through, as did her ability to work under pressure. She has since gone on to host several prime-time slots on Triple J radio. Having judged in The Age Music Victoria Awards, NT Song Of The Year Awards, ARIA Awards and Eurovision Song Contest 2022 (Australian Jury), Bridget is an active member of the music community.



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