By Joseph Purcell
Four years on from her last release, Hannah Georgas has returned more accomplished and confident than ever with All That Emotion – a vulnerable, reflective masterpiece that elevates her to the top table of contemporary songwriters.
The artwork of Hannah Georgas’ new record, All That Emotion, features an old family photo. Dug out from the Georgas’ family collection, it conveys two contrasting images. The exuberance of the main subject, and the serenity of the audience. On the surface, they seem happy and content, but you can’t help but wonder what is lying beneath. It is a perfect image to embody the competing emotions of the tracks that lay within Georgas’ fourth and most accomplished record to date.
Weaving a path that allows the listener access to her inner most feelings, Georgas sets sail on beautifully pitched opener, That Emotion. A floating electro gem, it pops with an uplifting melodic shimmy, yet contrasts the lyrical tone of loneliness and abandonment. A juxtaposition that appears throughout the record to create a captivating listen.
Georgas makes no secret of her writing being inspired by the people she meets, and All That Emotion is a record packed with tracks that reflect its very apt title. Georgas’ mastery of intertwined turmoil is no more overt than on the delicate Pray it Away. Weighed down by the conflicting views of her family, she wrestles with the chasmic feelings of disappointment and conflict, ‘I keep wondering will you still love me, even though I’m not what you thought… I can’t pray it away‘.
The autobiographical Same Mistakes is an evocatively raw voyage into Georgas’ past. Her words reveal the bleak reality of the early years of her formative environment, ‘I have a hard time going back, I carry a lot of it after the fact, I grew up in a family of wolves’. Yet, the process appears cathartic for Georgas, as if she is processing her anguish yet at the same time speaking with comfort of foresight directly to her younger self, ‘I wish I could go back and tell my younger self, none of this matters but it hurts like hell’.
All That Emotion is further lifted by the contributions of Aaron Dessner’s faultless production. The stripped back nature allows the experiences within the tracks to deepen its presence, as he once more displays his gift for allowing the tracks to breath and evolve, as Georgas’ vocal brims with a raw expression to a level beyond her previous work.
Habits sees her torn between the memories, both good and bad, and this nuanced mixture of contrasting reality is what makes All That Emotion so interesting. From the very first image on the album’s artwork, Georgas challenges the listener to look beyond the surface – to accompany her on a tumultuous journey of emotional ups and downs, and to look beyond what your eyes can see. Georgas has not only made an album where the songs and the artwork work together, she takes the listener by the hand and guides them through her experiences. All That Emotion proves she has a quite remarkable gift.
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