Having done production work on Taylor Swift’s acclaimed new album Folklore, The National’s Aaron Dessner turned his attention to Canadian star Hannah Georgas. All That Emotion, her fourth studio album, aims to break an acclaimed singer-songwriter to an international audience for the first time.
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'All That Emotion' is a bewitching record. It lulls you into a false sense of security and wrongfoots you. The opening, near-titular track, 'That Emotion', and lead single, is not really like anything else on the album, in fact I might even venture that it's one of the few less strong songs on the album. What follows is a magical mixture of electronica and country-flecked pop. Georgas' fourth album is sumptuously arranged with plenty of drum machines and synthesizers, all held together by commanding vocal performances. I suppose it's what you might get if Pete Um backed This Is The Kit.
Though important, the electronic influences are worn lightly, the bass synth on 'Pray It Away' is so impassive that it's almost inaudible. 'Same Mistakes' has wonderful, Burial-esque percussion that clicks and clatters, colliding with mournful indie-pop. Everything is beautifully connected and never feels mismatched. The glitchy experimentation on 'Punching Bag', one of the album's centrepieces, was a really welcome change of pace. I loved the murmured chorus of vocals that barely, rose above a whisper.
Georgas' voice is always the centrepiece of the songs. It would have been tempting to swamp the record in electronic puffery (I've nothing against electronic puffery - I adore it) but because she's such a commanding presence, the arrangements work for her, rather than the other way round.
I must say that the few songs that weren't as electronic did pale a little in comparison, but also made the album more well-rounded. 'All That Emotion' is an exhilarating, diverse, occasionally frustrating LP. I can't what to see what Georgas does next.
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