There's little doubt that the floor of Georgie James' pad is covered in shag. It's also very likely that crystals line the living-room hearth, and there's probably plenty of polyester — everywhere. The duo (made up of singer/songwriter Laura Burhenn and former Q and Not U multi-instrumentalist John Davis) channels '70s-era Laurel Canyon folk, sunny soft-rock alight with airy backing vocals, and Beatles-by-way-of-E.L.O. organ pop. Yet despite a modest baroque bent, the group remains well-grounded, thanks to Davis' chewy, propulsive songs. Davis juggles several instruments on Georgie James' debut album, Places, but it's the tug of the chugging beats that distinguishes it. Melancholy sentiments are paired with super-catchy pop, while the music's insistent pulse sets the stage — most evident on "Cheap Champagne," where an urgent punch drives Burhenn's dyspeptic vocals. "They sell us pretty pills to ease the pain/They let us wash it down and down with cheap champagne," she sings. It also doesn't hurt that — even with their penchant for sugary hooks and giant choruses — Burhenn and Davis don't muck things up with too much frilly instrumentation. Too bad there aren't more duets on Places; Burhenn's pretty, girlish voice blends nicely with Davis' reedy tenor on songs like "Need Your Needs," "Henry and Hanzy," and "More Lights."
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