Published Sep 03, 2020If you could give your bygone self advice, what would you say? Hannah Georgas certainly knows. Through music that evokes both the nostalgia of muggy summer flings and encroaching autumn melancholy, the Canadian singer-songwriter empathetically and melodically moans to her prior incarnation: "None of this matters though it hurts like hell," she sings on "Same Mistakes." Thanks to Georgas's vocals, the wincing guitar riffs, ticktock-fleeting-time percussion and downcast piano, this song amounts to a heartfelt and intricate highlight from her new LP, All That Emotion.
The musical heft backing up her vivid yet minimalistic singing and lyrics throughout this can't-miss album comes courtesy of Aaron Dessner. Prior to helming this album he made headlines for his production of Taylor Swift's recent smash, folklore. However, his work here with Georgas is more in line with the heart wrenching, indie-rock sophistication of Dessner's first claim to fame, as co-founder of the debonairly brooding band the National. Though pop hooks abound on All That Emotion, Dessner takes great care to lace each note with emotional complexity and avant-garde technique.
And Georgas proves to be the perfect foil in that regard. Take All That Emotion highlight "Easy" which features rapidly pounding percussion akin to a car ignition desperately trying to start, as Georgas movingly elongates lines about being at a loss for words. It's all catchy enough to keep you humming long after the song finishes. The percussion and keys on "Pray It Away," meanwhile, bubble up to the surface in irregular patterns that fittingly evoke Georgas's lyrics about frantic anxiety and strained hope. And the rhythm on "Habits" sways like a late-'80s pop-rock hit, which Georgas juxtaposes by singing about habitual romantic dysfunction.
She leaves so much room for relatable ambiguity. She imbues each line with a multitude of feeling. And she chooses a producer whose tone recreates the scalding sheen of a distant late-August heat wave. With all that and more, Georgas gives listeners the bittersweet beauty of recalling turning seasons and turning points on All That Emotion. (Arts & Crafts)