georgia

Much has been made of Georgia Barnes’ musical education, both as a music graduate from SOAS and as a clerk at Rough Trade, which account for the sprawling diversity of her debut album’s influences, the sheer variety of which could fill entire degree courses or record shops. However, for all the hipster dilettantism on display here – nods towards Daniel Lopatin’s technicolour abstract expressionism on ‘GMTL’, distorted schoolyard chants of MIA on ‘Move Systems’ and even Bon Iver’s wounded detachment on ‘Heart Wrecking Animals’ – what really cuts through the genre-splat is Barnes’ ear for more traditionally engineered pop: engaging, idiosyncratic melodies and microscopically detailed hooks abound in virtually every song, and Barnes’ wilful insistence on catchiness, whatever the production style, is clear. And that thrust is a relief: while the stylistic restlessness makes ‘Georgia’ feel more like a mixtape than an album, her continuing recourse to songwriting’s building blocks anchors it neatly. It might not be the smoothest musical experience, but ‘Georgia’’s bumps separate it pleasingly from the pack.

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