All The While (Little Georgia)
There are two odd things about Little Georgia, who are not really odd in any other way at all.
The oddest one is that the duo of Ashleigh Mannix and Justin Carter apparently are seen as a folk/rock band. Or maybe even promote themselves as such. Ah, no. Not at all. Country rock if you must; but really, country in most reasonable circumstances to most reasonable listeners.
Good commercial country too, not something you find regularly in the quite bifurcated Australian scene. You get clear choruses and strong structures; prominent vocals which can do sad-ish, angry-ish, joyful and earnest without tipping over into full immersion; strong vocals shared between male and female, occasionally harmonising but focused more on lead/backing; clean guitar sounds which can dirty up just enough to add some punch when electric and feel homespun when acoustic; keyboards which lay beds, sometimes hint at some soul, but play supportive rather than lead roles; suggestions of urban perspectives but mostly subsumed in a generalist, non-specific small town – and vaguely god-conscious - atmosphere.
With the rhythm section of Jimmy Straayer on bass and Oscar Henfrey on drums, Little Georgia sound like a band you’d enjoy hearing live, the kind which feels like it touches on the borderlands where someone like Ryan Adams (oh, especially Ryan Adams) criss-crosses from rock, or someone like Mia Dyson veers across blues and country lanes.
And really, All The While is an enjoyable listen, without any of the grating neediness of something like the recent Morgan Evans farrago. You don’t ever think they’re faking it here.
But here’s the other odd thing about Little Georgia: this album doesn’t really have a definable personality.
I don’t mean it is copying anything or anyone, but rather that there’s a blurry shape where you could describe just who Little Georgia is. In other words, not only what separates them from other good country/country rock outfits but what is it that is identifiably Mannix and Carter – their hopes, fears, stories and humour; their take on country, country rock, west coast, bluesy country … whatever.
This is a well done record, albeit one which could have been made by a few other people. Next step is making a well done album that no one but Little Georgia could make.
Little Georgia play:
NOVEMBER 11, THE UNION HOTEL, SYDNEY
NOVEMBER 16, MO'S DESERT CLUBHOUSE, GOLD COAST
NOVEMBER 17, GREASER, BRISBANE
NOVEMBER 30, THE LOFT, WARRNAMBOOL
DECEMBER 2, THE RETREAT HOTEL, MELBOURNE