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Song You Need to Know: Lucky Boy^ ft. Phoebe Rings, ‘Burned Out’

‘Burned Out’ is the first taste of a new collaborative EP from the prolific Tāmaki Makaurau musician

Lucky Boy^

Nicola Luey

Simeon Kavanagh-Vincent gets around.

The prolific Tāmaki Makaurau musician can be heard playing guitar as part of Princess Chelsea’s energetic live ensemble, who recently completed a mammoth tour of Aotearoa, Europe, and the UK.; he also contributes to two stellar local acts in dream pop group Phoebe Rings and indie rock outfit Treenurse.

It’s as Lucky Boy^, though, that he really gets to explore his most personal experimental ambitions. Kavanagh-Vincent relentlessly released delicate bedroom pop under this moniker between 2018 and 2021 – his Bandcamp page is filled with delightful sonic curios from that period – and his unexpected return in 2023 is a welcome one.

Lucky Boy^’s first single of the year, “Burned Out”, finds him collaborating with the aforementioned Phoebe Rings on a tenderly realised song about feeling overwhelmed by overworking.

The song is a lo-fi pop vision, with feathery synths floating over sweet and contemplative vocals, faintly luring the listener into its hazy dreamscape. It’s not difficult to imagine “Burned Out” being very well-received during the 2010s when the likes of Jerry Paper, Homeshake, and Mild High Club were earning buzz for their woozy aesthetics.

The title came from Kavanagh-Vincent’s dissatisfaction with his work-life balance over the past several years. “Just over working and having too much on your plate – doing that for way too long is the general sentiment,” he says.

After creating so obsessively as Lucky Boy^ at the turn of the decade, the intensity eventually got to the musician. A creative dry spell ensued, which is why “Burned Out” is the first taste of a new collaborative EP, set for release later this year.

“I know a tonne of very talented and lovely humans and the least that could come from writing a song with any of them is a fun, low stress afternoon or two,” Kavanagh-Vincent explains. “If I record something with ideas from someone else I am much more likely to be happy with the end result.

“My goal with all of the collaborative songs was to get as close to 50/50 on the input as possible. I didn’t want the end result to be my song ‘featuring’ someone else but instead a song that could have started with either one of us and progressed to a fully fledged piece.”

“Burned Out” deftly achieves such a balance, with Phoebe Ring’s Crystal Choi bringing her instinctive melodic touch to the song. “Crystal was the first person I contacted about doing the collab EP and I think the process of working through writing a song with her made me far more confident going into some of the other sessions,” he adds.

You can watch the accompanying music video – directed by Abigail Egden – below, which sees Choi and Lucky Boy^ cruise around deserted Auckland streets in the early morning, underneath a deeply melancholic purple sky.

Lucky Boy^’s “Burned Out” is out now.