Georgia: Seeking Thrills (Domino) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020  

Georgia

Seeking Thrills

Domino

Jan 10, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Georgia Barnes' second album was due to be released last summer. That was until she managed to secure a spot on the BBC Radio 1 A-List with her single "Started Out," a rare and bracing achievement for an independent dance producer, much less one that prefers to use exclusively analogue recording equipment, less still for a female artist that writes and produces in her own studio.

This sudden and unforeseen acceptance into the high corridors of the mainstream British pop echelons was consolidated within months when subsequent single "About Work the Dancefloor" received the same support; Georgia was now routinely being heard alongside the Dua Lipas and Mabels of this world, just without the support structure of Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group respectively.

It is no wonder, then, that Domino Records should allow themselves an extra six months to allow Seeking Thrills the release that it deserves. Their ambitions now re-configured, this could prove to be one of the sleeper albums of the first months of the new decade, its blend of shamelessly club-ready bangers and astute, dance-history-observant studio-craft likely to please the electronic connoisseurs as much as the pop devotees.

In some ways, it is no surprise that Barnes has such an assured touch. A graduate of the famed Brit School and a daughter of Leftfield's Neil Barnes, her credentials are elite level. Her early performing years saw her session drumming for the likes of Kwes and Kate Tempest, whilst registering as a rising star in the scene that brought us Sampha, James Blake, Jamie xx, and countless others. And whilst her 2015 self-titled debut was a study in post-graduate ethnomusicology, Seeking Thrills is a different animal altogether.

The two mentioned singles see Seeking Thrills tearing out of the traps with greyhound speed. The subwoofer depth of "Started Out" gives volume to the manic, twinkling sequencing at the track's high end, Barnes' vocal gasping with the expectations of the biggest night out of the year. "About Work the Dancefloor," meanwhile, is a modern masterwork of dance music, retooling the melodic discipline of 80s synth-pop to work in concert with the vanguard of current production techniques, as if to prove a point to the beige, odourless blancmange that has been slathered across the culture by our zeitgeist-inhibiting DJ overlords for the last decade. There are enough hooks and leads in this single track to populate a dozen of the most successful dance music careers of the 2010s.

"Never Let You Go" maintains the momentum, the glittering, primary-colored optimism of its score screamingly counterpointed by a prickly, melancholy lyric. Where Robyn and Lykke Li paved the way for tears-on-the-dancefloor electro-pop, Georgia has rocketed for the sunset, her maximalist production never allowing mere poignant moments of reflection to deflect her off course. She has been waiting for this moment and nothing is going to stop her now.

In truth, the momentum only drops when Georgia says so. The chant-like chorus and crisp, chopped-up percussion of "Feel It" are reminiscent of the heyday of M.I.A., and as such cleave closest to the spirit of Georgia's debut album. Even "Mellow," on the face of it a low-humming, spoke-sung crawler of a track, is a nocturnal concoction, as is "Ultimate Sailor," the quintessential, even clichéd, comedown track, the salve as adrenaline gives way to melatonin.

Georgia has already demonstrated her capacity to break down the barriers that conventionally constrain new and independent artists. Seeking Thrills deserves to establish her place at the top table; where she goes from there is anybody's guess. (www.georgiauk.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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