Hannah Georgas: All That Emotion review - indie-pop for introverts

Georgas’s fourth album, immaculately produced by Aaron Dessner, traverses a personal and sometimes opaque journey

Taylor Swift isn’t the only singer-songwriter with an Aaron Dessner-produced album out this lockdown: the National man also recently lent his talents to Hannah Georgas, a Canadian musician with a nice line in intricate and introverted indie-pop. All That Emotion is Georgas’s fourth album, but it still cleaves to the same basic principles of her earlier work: busy, layered backdrops; a tendency to fall through the cracks between folky guitar fare and jolting electronica.

Hannah Georgas: All That Emotion album art work
Hannah Georgas: All That Emotion album art work Photograph: PR Handout

This time, however, the 37-year-old traverses these generic hinterlands with a maudlin and magisterial air. Opener That Emotion’s gorgeous vocal melody is underpinned by trembling yet steely-cored percussion, Same Mistakes expertly balances thrumming bass and soaring synths, while Dreams perfects grinding, morose dance-pop. There are also plenty of clever production tricks that tie in with the song’s themes: Someone I Don’t Know wills a relationship into oblivion as a strummed guitar dissolves into the beat; Punching Bag’s delusions are reflected in the whispered backing vocals, which soon take on a rhythm of their own. On Change, you can feel the instrumental ground shifting under Georgas’s feet.

That said, Georgas’s lyrics can sometimes feel too oblique – Pray It Away could be about coming out; Same Mistakes hints very lightly at childhood domestic abuse. The small fragments of setup and sense are missing altogether from some tracks, relying on a fragmented internal monologue that doesn’t travel far beyond Georgas’ own psyche. Luckily, the mood music of All That Emotion is moving and compelling enough on its own terms. Georgas won’t get a fraction of the attention enjoyed by her producer’s previous client, but she deserves at least some of the same kudos.


Rachel Aroesti

The GuardianTramp

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