On her 2020 breakthrough Seeking Thrills, singer and producer Georgia Barnes delivered an electrifying approach to club-leaning pop music. The Mercury Prize nominated album was solely produced by Georgia, but the years since have seen her take a more collaborative approach, working with a diverse range of artists from Mura Masa to Gorillaz to Shania Twain. Her third album, Euphoric, sees her team up with Rostam Batmanglij, co-founder of Vampire Weekend and producer behind artists like HAIM, Clairo and Carly Rae Jepsen. Rostam’s influence pervades the whole album. It’s a much more subdued affair which fits neatly amongst his various alt-pop productions, in which Georgia’s vocals are displayed front-and-centre to an extent we haven’t seen before. As promised by the title we’re still treated to moments of dancefloor ecstasy, particularly in the first half, but for the most part it’s more breezy and carefree than the hedonism of Seeking Thrills.
The album takes its name from opening track and lead single It’s Euphoric, the first song that Georgia and Rostam wrote together. Punchy drums and a grounding bass line provide a foundation for Georgia’s loved-up, playfully sung lyrics: “I wasn’t saying much, was on the tip of my tongue.” The title becomes increasingly fitting as the song grows bigger with bouncy piano chords and an abrasive wall of synths. On Give It Up For Love, Georgia channels the sound of William Orbit. Over spacey electronica reminiscent of Madonna’s Ray of Light, she delivers some of the albums catchiest vocal melodies and stand-out lyrics: “Just when I thought I should give up, that’s the moment I found love.”
Mountain Song is an upbeat highlight that feels like a throwback to Georgia’s earlier records. The swelling synth rhythms culminate in an explosive chorus, which mirrors the visceral imagery of jumping into the ocean. This intensity continues in the following track, All Night. Georgia’s robotic vocals are a nod to the era of Daft Punk, or Cher’s Believe. The song sounds like it was made with festivals in mind, with big, anthemic choruses and carefree lyrics fantasising about “dancing in a crowd”.
Euphoric is undoubtedly an evolution for Georgia. The decision to step outside her comfort zone and work with new artists has made her music more multifaceted while retaining the technicolour charm of her previous releases. Rostam was a particularly smart choice of collaboration, his acoustic-tinged production style complementing Georgia’s electronic sensibilities with very creative results.