Georgie James

Places

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Georgie James plays a perfectly nice brand of indie rock. Cleanly recorded, well-played, and hummable, their debut album, Places, is the kind of album that might stick with you if you're in the right mood and at worst would be breezy background music. John Davis (ex-Q and Not U) and Laura Burhenn are the duo responsible for the songs and music, each providing vocals and Davis playing most of the instruments. Burhenn's keyboards provide an extra spark to the sound, helping make the '70s influences clearer. At times, the record sounds like something that would have occurred had Todd Rundgren and Carole King made an album together back in 1972. Davis has Todd's knack for melody and lyrical twists, while Burhenn has some of King's vocal warmth and introspective bent; combined they come up with relaxed, extremely personable music. Of course, there are no smash hits on Places, but some of the tracks have legs. "Need Your Needs" is the kind of bouncy, happy-sounding (just don't read the lyric sheet) track that instantly imprints itself on your brain. You'll be walking around with it for a soundtrack all day. "Comfortable Headphones," "Look Me Up," "Places" -- these are all songs that would sound excellent coming out of a tiny transistor radio on a sweltering summer day. They're also all songs that Davis sings with his AM-ready, smooth-as-glass vocals. Burhenn's vocals are a bit heavier, a little more theatrical. On "Cake Parade" and "Long Week," she comes off like a cross between Aimee Mann and Melissa Manchester. Not a terrible thing, true, but slightly jarring when contrasted with Davis. She's a very good harmony singer, though. Their voices blend like sugar and spice on "More Lights" and "Henry and Hanzy." It's not easy to make a big splash with a debut record these days. It's nice to see a band that doesn't even try, a band that plays their songs with few frills, just strong melodies and solid performances. They won't win rookie of the year in 2007, but there's no threat of them being sent to the minors anytime soon.

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