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Live Review: PREMIERE: STEVIE deliver pop with a message in 'Toughen Your Skin'

23 November 2017 | 10:59 am | Emma Jones

STEVIE is the creative meeting point of three of Brisbane's most exciting artists; Phoebe Imhoff (formerly of Go Violets), producer and musician Miro Mackie (Little Scout, WAAX, Jeremy Neale, Major Leages) and Brisbane based electronic wizard Jordan De Pasquale (Zapéd). Together, they create electro-pop that is simultaneously as retrospective and nostalgic as it is modern and forward-thinking. Having released a stunning debut last year in 'Decay', they're finally back with new music today in the form of 'Toughen Your Skin', and it is more than worth the wait.

The star of the show is Imhoff's voice, commanding your attention immediately. Paired with 80's inspired production that makes 'Toughen Your Skin' sound like it's been lifted from a John Hughes movie in a particularly poignant scene, this song might give a first impression that it's uplifting, but on closer listen, it's a lot more real.

Drawing on real life experiences, Imhoff said of the song, "It chronicles having to watch your friends in rough patches of their lives whilst being an ode to friendship, and the importance of moral support during tough times, when people aren't making the best decisions for themselves." Contrasting these themes with soaring, powerful pop, 'Toughen Your Skin' is a song that plays right into your feelings as much as it makes you want to dance, and that's what Stevie does so well. Not shying away from less-than shiny pop themes of sunshine and smiles, but still utilising their obvious penchant for catchy hooks, synths and driving beats, they offer a brand of intelligent pop with weight behind it.

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With 'Toughen Your Skin', STEVIE are now two for two on the scorecard of exceptional pop releases, and with a stack of unreleased songs still in the bag that local Brisbane fans might have had the pleasure of witnessing at one of their live shows around the city, it's clear that there's still plenty more to come from them. Having undergone a recent shift in the physical line-up as Mackie relocated to LA to flex his production skills alongside Lars Stalfors (of The Mars Volta), since achieving credits on releases from St. Vincent, Cold War Kids and Bishop Briggs, STEVIE may have changed geographical locations, but still retain the collaboration and friendship that started it all. They'll be launching their new single live at Black Bear Lodge on December 13th, so if you're around, we definitely recommend heading along to catch them in action - oh, and we're also hoping they play their cover of Jojo's 'Too Little, Too Late' again too!

Words by Emma Jones