ALBUM REVIEW: GEORGIA FAIR – TRAPPED FLAME

georgia-fair-trapped-flame

The fact that Sydney duo, Georgia Fair sound like a bunch of young Americans is hardly a new or revelatory observation. On their debut album they impressed fans and critics alike with their folk and Americana sounds. On their sophomore record, Trapped Flame, there are some aspects that appear to be cut from the same cloth while other musical elements are new and ultimately rewarding.

The boys recorded in LA at East West Studios on Sunset Boulevard. It’s quite possible that this change of scenery along with working with producer, Ted Hutt (Dropkick Murphys, Gaslight Anthem) made them make a more raw and rocky album. This was certainly the vision the duo had initially because they have described how they wanted things to be really raw but still beautiful and focused in various articles. A lot of this work involved stripping away the musical fat; or retaining minimal instrumentation, which despite a lack of layers still sounds rather full.

“Gloria” opens the proceedings and is not a giant leap away from their old sound. It is almost hymn-like with its repeated title forming a refrain while the guitars are distorted and take their cues from Neil Young’s “Southern Man”. Single, “Love Me Free” boasts the kind of harmonies that Boy & Bear and Mumford & Sons do so well. But the music also soars to a Ben Lee-esque mantra of sorts, consider: “I am love/I am free/I am me”.

The pair boasts their fair share of quieter moments on this record, which allows the listener to have moments of intense contemplation. A perfect example of this is “The River” where you can imagine the two artists with their mates in a big group staring intently at the embers of a campfire. This gentle hush doesn’t always work though, because “Old Friend” is painfully slow, whiny and languid in its attempts to be an epic, piano ballad.

Trapped Flame sees the boys diverge somewhat off the well-worn, indie folk track. It means they go on an expressive journey where their ultimate goal is to get us to heal when we were pained and to live and party through some rocking moments. At times this makes for energetic and jangly listening, before they strip it all back to the core feeling, heart and soul.

Jordan Wilson and Ben Riley have seized the best live moments at times on this record and on other occasions they soothe us with a sound that’s not unlike modern, indie folk bands and troubadour singer-songwriters that are immensely popular.

Ultimately, this sophomore album is a love letter to the boys’ American influences and strikes a good balance between the moments where you have to dance and those other times where you’re forced to stop and think.

Originally published on 23 October 2013 at the following website: http://thedwarf.com.au/album_review/17186/trapped-flame

Visit The Dwarf’s homepage at: http://www.thedwarf.com.au/

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