Georgia - Georgia

by Rich Morris Rating:9 Release Date:2015-08-07

This debut album by 21-year-old Georgia Barnes echoes with a deep love of Swedish alt-pop heroes The Knife. Vocodered, pitch-shifted vocals bounce against elasticated, industrial beats, simultaneously glitchy and funky. Hooky pop choruses on songs like ‘Kombine’ and ‘Be Ache’ punch their way forcefully through a dense mesh of post-rave electronica.  

Which isn’t to say that Barnes is a mere copyist. Throughout the course of this album, she takes inspiration from multiple sources: the voguish maximalist clatter of Rustie and Hudson Mohawke (‘Digits’); the moody alt-pop of FKA twigs and Banks (‘Nothing Solutions’); early MIA-style bedsit electro (‘Move Systems’); Cooly G’s sexy-but-sickly post-funky house (‘Tell Me About It’); a dash of Bjork’s wild emotionalism (‘Hold It’). There’s a lot going on here and Barnes manages to weave it all together into something seamless and convincing.

If there’s one criticism to be made, it’s that it’s hard to locate Barnes’ true voice underneath the perfectly executed style. I don’t get any real sense of who she is as an artist or a person from listening to Georgia, and it’s a testament to the panache on show here that I would really like to.

It’s abundantly clear that Barnes has talent to burn. She’s already played football for Arsenal and QPR, and recorded this album in her bedroom. She's also audibly switched-on to everything cutting-edge that’s happening in electronic music, and wonderfully unafraid to source that knowledge in the service of a decent pop tune. Added to that, when she allows it to shine without manipulation on ‘Heart Wrecking Animals’, her voice is genuinely soulful and affecting.

For now, Georgia is a crackingly good example of modern, fearless magpie pop, one to add alongside LA Priest’s Inji and Young Fathers’ White Men Are Back Men Too in what is turning out to be an unexpectedly interesting year for iconoclastic electronic music. 

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