The State Of Georgia: This Time
The State Of Georgia release a new album of big-hearted ballads, electro-pop and Twin Peaks references. Andy Brown shares his thoughts on This Time for Louder Than War.
Centred around singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Georgia Lashbrook, The State Of Georgia are based in West Yorkshire and produce albums full of synth-pop melodies and indie-pop sensibilities. This Time has been in the works for years, yet via an incredibly well-received Kickstarter campaign, it’s finally seeing the light of day. I’ll confess something of a bias, as the second I clocked the Twin Peaks-referencing cover art, I was rather excited and undeniably intrigued. Add to this a rather charming homage to said TV show, with the video to recent single My Time Again, and it’s fair to say that they’ve caught my attention.
Love Less starts with Lashbrook’s unaccompanied voice, gradually layered with immaculate harmonies. It’s a hypnotic and captivating start to the album that sounds all the sweeter through a pair of headphones. Punching comes next, The State Of Georgia invoking the synth-heavy euphoria of 80s pop, with a dash of New Order thrown in for good measure. It’s a fully-certified pop firecracker and the ideal soundtrack to your self-made motivational montage. “I’ll run a little bit harder than I can./ I’ll punch a little bit higher this time,” sings Lashbrook, as she grabs life by the scruff of the neck. “I’ll chase after the brightest sunshine,/ Fight the good fight and take back what’s mine.”
A wash of atmospheric synths and Lashbrook’s gorgeous vocal guide us into the excellent My Time Again. There’s a repeated refrain that really hits home considering what we’ve all been through recently: “What’s the point in all of this?/ When it’s the people that we miss.” The track encapsulates the central theme of the album: the passage of time, what we choose to do with that time and who we spend it with. Damn Dogs starts with moody, aching soundscapes, and a worn-out Lashbrook crooning about faded summers and the unavoidable and insistent onset of sadness. Yet as the track breaks out into fuzz-laden bass, it’s clear that The State Of Georgia aren’t going down without a fight.
Little Tiny Ones might just be one of the most haunting tracks here, the slumberous, somewhat brooding tone creating a tender, meditative and dreamlike state. Losing My Mind, on the other hand, leaps from my speakers as a club-ready, synth-pop banger. It’s an unashamedly huge slice of euphoric synth-pop and you’re going to love it – a fine example of the variety on display over the album’s modest 31 minute runtime. Once Upon A Time brings us down gently with an earthy, beautifully-layered fairy tale ballad, before Slow The Clocks swoons into view with an immaculately polished slice of big-hearted pop. This Time practically fizzes with the joy and immediacy of life.
The title track finds The State Of Georgia changing tack again, with a genuinely haunting and heartfelt piano ballad. The themes of love, loss and the changing seasons shine through the delicate instrumentation. One More Time keeps its heart firmly on its sleeve, as it thrusts a lighter into the air for a widescreen pop ballad for the ages. Lashbrook clings to every precious second and urges you to do the same. The album comes to an end with an alternative version of Little Tiny Ones. It’s listed as a remix yet the result is far more nuanced then that suggests. The Wakefield-based outfit St Cyrus produce a rustic, fireside rendition of the track.
Lashbrook has been a familiar face on the Leeds/West Yorkshire scene for years now, first coming to my attention via the much-missed Wakefield indiepop act, The Research. This Time has come from a similarly home-grown background and deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. Along with artists like Miranda Arieh, The State Of Georgia is bringing pop’s optimism to the indie underground. To paraphrase the great Agent Dale Cooper: Give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt in a men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or one copy of This Time by The State Of Georgia. Don’t forget the coffee and doughnuts!
All words by Andy Brown. You can visit his author profile and read more of his reviews for Louder Than War here.