Georgie James

Places (Saddle Creek)

Georgie James — actually a duo — seems destined for success; it opened for Camera Obscura and played the annual South by Southwest music showcase before it even had a record deal. The group's debut, Places, is generating buzz far beyond the band's Washington, D.C. base. The personnel are blondies Laura Burhenn and John Davis, the latter previously known for gritty, experimental rock as the drummer in seminal D.C. band Q and Not U. Georgie James, however, embraces a more produced, poppy sound. Songs like "Need Your Needs," "Only 'Cause You're Young," and "More Lights" are summery, intelligent tunes for entertaining young, white liberal professionals. (This is not an insult. It seems to be what they're going for.) Davis sings most of the verses on these songs, and his voice is a revelation — pretty but also demanding of the listener. However, on songs where Burhenn shoulders the majority of the vocal responsibility, like "Cake Parade" and "Cheap Champagne," the result feels derivative of acts like Cat Power and the Essex Green. Still, Georgie James's songwriting is solid, and the dreamy guitar/drum/bass arrangements do exactly what they need to. Places is a promising debut on the alt-pop landscape.

 
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