After living in Berlin for a decade, and following the birth of his daughter, George FitzGerald returned to London, where he had witnessed the development of the dubstep scene during the 2000s. Just as his 2015 full-length debut, Fading Love, was a reaction to a breakup as well as his disillusionment with the club scene, 2018 follow-up All That Must Be further reflects on the producer's various life changes. It's far more upbeat and joyous than its predecessor, but there's still a bittersweet quality, as well as a looming sense of uncertainty over what path his life is taking. Also like Fading Love, All That Must Be is a dance album that wasn't necessarily created with clubs or DJs in mind, and it functions as a singular listening experience, although many of its tracks can easily add a bit of wistful drama to a night out. Most of the songs contain altered vocals rather than proper lyrics, reflecting a state of confusion and incoherence while everything surrounding FitzGerald is changing. The galloping opener, "Two Moons Under," is filled with scattered glitches rather than discernable words, while Hudson Scott's contributions to "Nobody But You" are pitched down to a gloomy slur. Lil Silva guests on the nostalgic downtempo number "Roll Back," giving clear, heartfelt pleas to take things back to the way they were, while various vocal effects and fizzing arpeggios bubble up beside him. Perhaps the most straightforward stunner is "Half-Light," which features the inimitable Tracey Thorn delivering heartrending lyrics alongside a chiming melody. "Outgrown" boasts another big-name guest, Bonobo, and with the track's warm chords, shuffling beat, and slightly melancholy pianos, the two artists' styles mesh perfectly, and it's hard to tell who was responsible for which parts of the track. While the downtrodden Fading Love was a noteworthy debut full-length from an artist who had built up a solid discography of club singles, FitzGerald seems re-energized this time around, and the excellent All That Must Be is a clear improvement over his previous release.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson