If you’re in the market for a summer music crush, look no further than Alabama-born songstress Lauren Balthrop, here in the guise of Dear Georgiana. After stints with the New York throwback girl-trio The Bandana Splits and as a backing vocalist for Ximena Sarinana, Balthrop emerges with a set of self-penned songs with sensitive production from Josh Kaufman who also contributes backing vocals and much of the instrumentation.
Dont Let Me Go opens the irresistible ten-song collection with Balthrops echoed dreaminess over a muted guitar accented by bass jabs. The chords could easily be from the Neil Young songbook but the mellow arrangement soon takes on added dimensions with waves of lead guitar, keys and strings.
Retro-pop number Wanna Be In Love takes off brightly from its opening staccato keyboard riff. Balthrop re-imagines a powder-puff utopia of teen longing encapsulated in three-minutes: I wanna be in love with someone even if its star-crossed she opens with, hinting at the age-old fallacy that any love will do. In contrast, the chilled strains of Wait For Me, with its apocalyptic subject where the earth collides with the moon and the sun is like fire on your skin show a far more downbeat side to Balthrop. Elsewhere, her honeyed drawl on lilting songs like Nowhere To Be, Where Did We Go Wrong and Lets Dance remain close to her country roots.
Instrumentally, the album is varied enough to help the songs take on their own character; the brass sections on Please Dont Tell Me A Lie really lift its cyclical main theme and compound the lyric sentiments, while the pedal steel stings on the closer, Lets Dance, are perfectly realized. Balthrop equally has an ear for great melody lines that lend her songs immediacy. Throughout there is a charm to her writing that makes her heartache believable and measurable. So much so that its hard not to fall under her spell.
Essential Tracks: Wanna Be In Love, Dont Let Me Go and Please Dont Tell Me A Lie.