Collective energy seems like the prime goal of Georgia‘s second album. Much more open-armed, irresistible and ‘funner’ than her debut from 2015, it provides listeners with several invitations to the exciting places in which we can unitedly be our wild selves and reach heights of euphoria. For the most part, the place of hedonistic worship is the dance floor – unsurprising when you consider that she’s the daughter of Neil Barnes of electronic pioneers Leftfield. The 29-year-old has clearly learnt from her father, as this is a polymathic musician with an erudite knowledge of how to fuse dance and pop styles from different eras. Her sound is equally modern and throwback, with the musician confessing to being a fan of Detroit Techno and Chicago House, in particular Frankie Knuckles. The Londoner is a producer, drummer, singer and songwriter, which makes her confidently in control throughout her second release Seeking Thrills.
“We are wicked young fools who behave now. Back in the arms of somebody who saved us” sings Barnes on opening track ‘Started Out’, immediately attempting to unite youthful free-wheelers. A beautifully woozy and almost hypnotic introduction to Georgia’s new album, it uses completely analogue production and commendable layers that utilise influential 80s tools: a 909 drum machine that propels the track forward and a springy, elevating use of SH-101 synth, as well as vocal manipulation that adds a somewhat French vibe.
The sparkling follow-up, ‘About To Work The Dancefloor’, is more obvious in its intentions to transport listeners to a holy place of music ecstasy. Inspired by Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’ from 2010, it suggests that a nightclub is a place of escapism from other problems, in particular a haven from “it’s complicated” relationships. But in the end, she seemingly forms a metaphorical relationship with the establishment, turning it into a romantic serenade: “‘Cause I don’t have much in terms of money now. I don’t have material gifts for you. You want me to stay a while, stay a while. To be in a moment with you“.
‘Never Let You Go’, which admittedly could be on the soundtrack to a teen saga based on its lyrics and optimistic romance – highlights Georgia’s earlier career as a drummer, as the progression of the drum pads are a highlight of the track. Something more appreciated when watching her impressive one-woman performances. However, if the high pitched tone and nature of some of her tracks seem a bit too sugary sweet and repetitive, then fortunately Seeking Thrills has plenty of diversity.
The short yet therapeutic ‘Ultimate Sailor‘ imagines what it would be like if the aforementioned Robyn performed on a sci-fi soundtrack. It has the night-glow aura of Vangelis‘ Blade Runner but also the murky doom of Brad Fiedel’s The Terminator. Its short amount of lyrics and vague description make it a lullaby about endless possibilities. Although it fits with the theme of the record, as it highlights impulsiveness in the lyric: “I’d jump from the waves in high heels.”
‘Mellow’ – in which Georgia teams up with a South East London DJ Shygirl – has a Billie Eilish pop-trap edginess and nonchalance phrasing. The lyrics keep it in the partying scene, and listening to it imagines the drunken antic music video to Tove Lo’s ‘Stay High’: “Jane Morello keeps it mellow. An Amaretto, an Amaretto. Mike Morello keeps it mellow. A vodka jello, a vodka jello.”
Critics highlighted moments of M.I.A similarities on Georgia’s first self-titled album but the experimental Hip-hop musician influence is felt here too. ‘Ray Guns’ – instantly sounding like an M.I.A title – has that musician’s call-to-action in its words, while also sticking with Georgia’s message of unified happiness: “Pick up your ray guns (Light your life perfectly) We all feel elation, a celebration. When we come together perfectly.” There’s also notably the malfunctioning vocals, and the street percussion of that, which also draw a comparison.
Furthermore, the rhythmic ‘Feel It’ uses megaphonic screams associated with both M.I.A and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It has an empowering message about battling against forces that attempt to shatter one’s dreams. The music video which shows a collection of female drummers adds strength to the track and is a personal reflection on Georgia’s own passionate drumming background. Importantly highlighting the collective adrenaline and wild expression that Seeking Thrills attempts to embrace.
Seeking Thrills is out now on Domino.