Country-rock music is a tough genre to excel at without sounding generic. It’s all too easy to get caught in twangy riffs and vapid lyrics. With their new album, Trapped Flame, Georgia Fair come close to creating something unique in an overpopulated genre as they straddle the lines between country, blues, and folk music. Unfortunately, this diverse mix comes across as convoluted with no real direction or goal in sight. The musicality is there; it all sounds pleasant and is mixed to perfection. However, the songs each seem to just fall short of striking something worthwhile.
The album opener Gloria is ultimately hard on the ears as lead singer Jordan Wilson wails the words “Gloria” repeatedly. From there, things improve with the album’s lead single Love Free Me. This track is the first example of the brooding talent this duo exudes. While they do capture this style relatively well, it seems to be all that is found within Trapped Flame. Obviously, this is what the band excels at, but seeing as this is what each and every song on Trapped Flame attempts to execute, it leaves the listener feeling as though each song is an exact replica of the other. Other than a few heavy bridges, the album does nothing to differentiate itself in the track list. I’ve listened to Trapped Flame in its entirety and it felt as though I was watching a band in a dimly lit bar as the bartender called out last call to the depressed patrons. The album’s highlight was the track Broken Wings, but this is surely the track that exemplifies this feeling to the utmost. While Georgia Fair excels at striking a depressive chord, that doesn’t change the fact that the album is largely a forgettable one.
There’s obviously talent to be seen from this duo. The raspy voice is one that shines at times while the instrumentation is always good enough. The problem is that it’s just good enough. Trapped Flame just barely passes the threshold of being a success. People will surely enjoy this album, but it won’t do much in the way of surpassing musical expectations in 2013. If Georgia Fair wishes to become a household name they’re going to have to make an album that doesn’t repeat the exact same formula on each of the 12 songs.
Trapped Flame is hardly the worst thing I’ve heard this year, but it doesn’t come close to being the best. Georgia Fair are trapped in their depressive style, but they have the prowess to move on to bigger and brighter ambitions. All that’s required is a diversified effort.
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