Georgie James at the Sunset

Georgie James at the Sunset Tavern, Seattle | 10 April 2008

Georgie James fall into the ‘I don’t get it’ category. It’s not that I don’t get their infectious pop songs, I don’t get why they’re not more well known. So they fall into the same category as the Pernice Brothers, Kelley Stoltz and even Sloan, who write undeniable pop hooks that hark back to late 60’s heyday of Beatles, Kinks, Zombies, Beach Boys, etc.

Apparently that genre of music is too obvious these days, because it seems like Georgie James et. al just don’t get their due. Their debut album Place came out on Saddle Creek in the fall of last year, and has pretty much flown under the radar of everyone, myself included. Not sure if it’s because I don’t usually pay attention to what comes out on Saddle Creek, or the name of the band making me ignore them. Whatever the reason I finally did see the light earlier this year. The album is a fully fleshed affair with John Davis and Laura Burhenn playing most everything, but live, they are normally backed by a rhythm section. This short being a short west coast jaunt for this Washington, DC based group, it was only John playing the acoustic guitar and Laura playing her Nord Electro keyboard. I was half expecting to be disappointed in seeing them live because it wasn’t with a full band, but from the first song my doubts were allayed. The acoustic renditions made me realize that it’s their voices that carry these songs, Davis has soft easy timber and Burhenn’s sweet harmonies and leads easily make you forget there are any backing instruments. Her harmonies on Hard Feelings had me thinking of Louis Philippe, and her excellent singing on Cake Parade had me toe-tapping to a sunny pop melody that shrouds the biting anti-war words.

With a filler free album, I would have been happy only hearing those songs, but covers of the Flaming Goovies and an amazing rendition of the Zombies‘ This Will Be our Year was above and beyond the call. Burhenn’s vocal and piano on This Will Be Our Year, made it nearly nip the original for shear pleasure. It was cool to see them not afraid to recognize and do a song from such an obvious influence. But it wasn’t just all Laura Burhenn stealing the show, because John Davis can turn a pop hook that will pull you up out of the water. Saving their best for last, Davis’s Look Me Up and Need Your Needs did not fail to satisfy pop diet of my thirsty ears. They’re making their way south and you too can get your daily allowance of pop calories at one their remaining west coast (and one east coast) dates:

April 13, 2008 – San Francisco, CA
April 15, 2008 – Los Angeles, CA
April 16, 2008 – Los Angeles, CA
April 17, 2008 – Las Vegas, NV
April 19, 2008 – Catonsville, MD

mp3: Georgie James – Cake Parade (buy Places)

mp3: Georgie James – Need Your Needs (buy Places)

mp3: Zombies – This Will Be Our Year (buy Odessey & Oracle)

One comment

  1. Omar · April 12, 2008

    Glad to see some Georgie James appreciation going around. I did an in-studio with them yesterday at the University of Washington. You can find that here:

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