Music Reviews

Georgia Georgia

(Domino) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

All it takes is one minute for Georgia Barnes to introduce her wild ingenuity to the world. It’s not even a particularly appealing one - minding the unnecessary use of the word “Intro” to open a new chapter in her career after having collaborated with a slew of other musicians like Kate Tempest and Kwes, the bewildering track opens with an ambient choral sample before a choir of mirthful children cry her name with gleeful naïveté.

Which could, in fact, reflect the playful manner in which she creates: her first solo outing is truly a labor of love, exploring a colorful array of sounds with childlike wonder. Most of her lively self-titled is a fine blend of rhythmic eccentricity under a pop guise, seeking new ways to rewrite accessible song patterns with a decidedly forward-thinking thrust.

The busy, technicolor atmosphere of Georgia is variably informed from her days as a percussionist, a vibrant element that gives the album its madcap fusion of musical styles. Most of the time, they’re coupled with the pains of young infatuation: she faces some hard truths in the pulsing, reggae-tinged Kombine, while in Be Ache she declares to be her love interest’s “heartache, or whatever” over grimy, throbbing synth acrobatics that are just utterly infectious.

Georgia does temper the tempo on occasion, through those moments of respite are almost foolhardy ploys to distract the listener from the album’s freewheeling aesthetic, like booby traps of sound that trigger if you’re not paying attention. Move Systems opens with a calm music box lullaby before she suddenly declares “Aight, I’m Out”, followed by a whopping assault of percussive noise. Meanwhile, other tracks like GMTL capture the more ethereal lustiness of current acts like FKA Twigs, its vibrant newness a visible sign of the sheer metamorphosis that infiltrates the pop charts these days.

None of this is accidental happenstance, though, since Georgia has been constructing many of the parts that compose her self-titled for close to two years. The comparisons to fellow London native M.I.A. are apt, though mostly superfluous: while M.I.A. slurs her words with biting, almost contemptuous precision, Georgia’s vocal tonality is far more amiable and inviting; she occasionally gets lost in her own ruckus when she goes for intricate rhyme schemes, but it mostly comes across as an out-of-character exercise to amuse herself.

That willingness to step outside any boundary is what makes Georgia such a promising pop artist. A true maverick with years of experience under her belt, she takes control of all those disparate ideas with a confidence that far exceeds her age. Perhaps there’s not that one killer single that will turn her into an instant sensation, and those are bound to emerge, but what she’s cultivating with Georgia holds more value: that of creating an essential body of work that is unaware of any imperfection, coming from a mind that’s overflowing with a glut of ideas. And that mixture of madness is just too valuable to lose, or spoil too quickly.