As Halloween approaches, Redbrick Music previews some of our city's spookiest nightsWritten by Emily Barker, Sorcha Hornett, Issy Campbell & Greg Woodin on 23rd October 2017
Album Review: Johnnyswim – Georgica Pond
Music's Georgia Davis enjoys a beautifully constructed rock pop-tinged effort from the talented folk duo
Okay, first things first, I am in love with this album. Although new to the fan club of JOHNNYSWIM, I was immediately converted to becoming a groupie. On first listen and in prep for this review, I attempted a ‘favourites’ list. This didn’t go to plan though, given that every song is impressive standing alone. The album as a whole is pieced together beautifully, following a love story of the passionate couple. This is only enhanced through the compatibility of Amanda’s and Abner’s voices, resembling the two in love. All of this, plus my chill mood on a Sunday afternoon with a coffee in front of me, led to a very good first listen.
The album opens with a 23 second interlude, setting the scene of the folk ambience that is the baseline for the entire album. Following this is the opening song, ‘Hummingbird’. The upbeat feel of the song immediately draws you into the album with its feel-good factor. Not sure if it’s just me, but I got a subtle familiarity with rock pop throughout the opening tune. This only made me fall in love with it more, making me want to dance. This is a perfect start to the album, reflecting the beginning of a relationship and sparks between two strangers.
“The album as a whole is pieced together beautifully, following a love story of the passionate couple
‘Villains’ and ‘Touching Heaven’ address a long term love, perhaps the partners’ relationship given they were married in 2009. Their folk roots really come out to play in these, specifically in ‘Touching Heaven’. Not only does the name address Sudano’s religious background, but elevates the song to an even more peaceful feel. The outro to the song captured my heart most though, when they got their children to join in on spontaneous harmonies! My heart!
But now for ‘Georgica Pond’; Although a difficult call, this has to be my fave of the album. A soulful start really grasped onto my heartstrings, not to mention the lyrics of becoming a lighthouse following death. If you’re feeling at all spiritual, please go ahead and put this song on repeat until you have every word rehearsed, and go ahead and sing along until you’re in tears!
If I’m being honest, although not disliking the songs, ‘Let It Matter’, ‘First Try’ and ‘In My Arms’ are only carried through the album given the songs around them. This may be because they follow ‘Georgica Pond’, which in my opinion is a tough one to beat; or just the lack of oomph when listened to alone. This being said, I can see myself retreating back to this album when in a soulful mood, or needing something to chill to. Therefore, these songs, especially in the middle of the album, are actually perfect for the context they are received in.
“I can see myself retreating back to this album when in a soulful mood, or needing something to chill to
This leads perfectly on to ‘Rescue You’ where the pair take a fairly equal load of the song again. This only makes listening to the album through fully even better, as it goes full circle from equally shared segments of the song through to their individual tracks, back to a duet style in the final songs. Again, this feeds into the love story that really stood out to me in the first listen.
The album ends on the couple’s take on ‘Wicked Game’ by Chris Isaak. Personally, being a big fan of this song and having heard many versions of the hit single, I can gladly say that JOHNNYSWIM certainly did Isaak justice. The mystery and intrigue of the song is still kept true to the original, but the pair twist the song, fitting it with their folk roots. This finalises the extremely subtle rock tones that I first heard earlier in the album, given Isaak’s rock background. A great ending to the album, where classic meets a fresh, modern talent, reinventing the song for the youth of today.