The eponymous debut from the London-born Georgia introduces the world to a precocious talent more intent with building a brash, continental-drifting soundscape than relying on subtle songcraft. Once you grasp this, the auditory journey from beginning to end is surprisingly gratifying. It's credit-worthy that the 21-year-old cherry picks from an array of genres. The likes of grime, PC music, even ethereal pop are readily explored in this twelve track LP, all with an adeptness that someone beyond her years might not even possess.
This debut invokes M.I.A.'s entrance into the fringes of popular music a decade ago - both celebrating their outsider status, getting their kicks from the colourful culture clashes that inhabit London. Sure the comparisons are more to do with tenets than aesthetics, even if still 'Move Systems', a heavy, tribal-inflected percussive number, sounds sonically akin to an 'Arular' track. It's still impressive to hear Georgia take a definitive stance against the mainstream and the 'systems' that dictate young adulthood. Indeed, from production standpoint, Georgia eschews conformity throughout.
Take 'Kombine', inspired by conversations with a Pakistani taxi driver, and the qawwali music (devotional religious music) that streamed out his cab's sound system. It's this sort of off-the-wall approach to her experiences that make the record engrossing. Much of the LP, admirably self-produced, is refreshing in sonic dexterity and showcase Georgia's desire to not be pigeon-holed. 'Be Ache', a warped and dreamy pop number, bursts with snipes and snares akin to a Purity Ring creation, albeit with a grime-tinged underbelly. 'GMTL' in some ways characterises Georgia's vocal and simple lyricism that permeates through record, featuring an earworm hook and girl-next-door vocals, goading her lover for reassurance.
Interestingly, 'Georgia' truly excels when the production un-clutters, namely the final track 'You', an Imogen Heap-inspired number that sounds like a ballad performed in an alternative universe controlled by androids and cyborgs, Georgia's vocal layered to within an inch. Unrequited love is the theme, similar in vein to 'Heart Wrecking Animals', never veering into maudlin territory, instead it's eerily romantic and wonderfully idiosyncratic, revealing a plane of a raw nature, something the propulsive computer sounds that characterise much of the LP override.
Having seen Georgia perform a multitude of tracks from the record, supporting her fellow genre-buster Kelela, it's palpable that the tracks are more at home on the stage, where you can feel the frenetic energy of the record itself, Georgia's boisterous on-stage persona coming through in abundance. On record, sometimes that energy gets lost in a noisy ether, her identity chopped and screwed into fragments. Evidently, that's a conscious decision.
Next time, look for the songstress to refine and assimilate her musical style further. What's abundantly clear now is that London has a vital artist that proudly represents its heterogeneous nature.
Words: Shahzaib Hussain
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