Stepping into the spotlight after years of working as a session drummer, Georgia Barnes (daughter of Leftfield's Neil Barnes) introduces herself as a striking presence with her eponymous full-length debut. Her distinctly British style of experimental pop music features caustic, buzzing bass and jagged beats reminiscent of grime, as well as distorted vocals and acid techno synth lines. It's easy enough to compare her to M.I.A. or Micachu, especially given the deadpan vocals and city-dwelling lyrics of single "Move Systems," but Georgia's vocals are more often reminiscent of Kate Bush, and when pitched down a bit, as on "Hold It," she starts to sound like Alison Moyet. Her percussion tracks are wonderfully busy, banging and clanging and bringing out the rough edge in her alternately sweet and rugged vocals. "Tell Me About It" successfully pays homage to Timbaland's classic late-'90s productions for artists such as Aaliyah, utilizing stuttering, staccato drum programming, springy synths, and vocal ad-libs without managing to sound like a direct imitation and still sounding fresh. Her lyrics typically deal with the thorny, emotionally devastating side of relationships, and songs like "Nothing Solutions" and "You" are particularly heart-rending. Georgia is highly skilled at crafting enjoyable, creative pop songs out of sonic elements that might seem jarring and subject matter that could potentially be uncomfortable. Armed with several strong songs, Georgia is an impressive, inventive debut. ~ Paul Simpson
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