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Album Review: Dear Georgiana – Dear Georgiana

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Artists

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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.

“Don’t Let Me Go” opens the irresistible ten-song collection with Balthrop’s 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 it’s 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 “Let’s 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 Don’t Tell Me A Lie” really lift its cyclical main theme and compound the lyric sentiments, while the pedal steel stings on the closer, “Let’s 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 it’s hard not to fall under her spell.

Essential Tracks:  “Wanna Be In Love”, “Don’t Let Me Go” and “Please Don’t Tell Me A Lie”.

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