Review Summary: Georgia Maq lets out her emotions like a Saturday morning munt.
With Australia’s punk scene finally uniting and coming to real prominence after the 2010 release of No One Gets Lost Anymore
by The Smith Street Band
, even the smallest of the scene’s acts are actually proving themselves worthwhile under an all-encompassing spotlight that really is not fixated on anyone, except perhaps the aforementioned band fronted by Australia’s own giant, sweaty version of Frank Turner
. I’d like to explain that the scale of fame in this particular scene--the very top being The Smith Street Band and the very bottom being a newly formed garage band--isn’t actually broad at all as evidenced by the bills of mini-festivals like the Poison City Weekender and Whisk and Key’s Not Fest, the former consisting of international acts Joyce Manor
and Cheap Girls
sharing the stage with a bunch of tiny bands like Milhouse
who had little more than two EPs out at the time. Essentially, you could go to a tiny bar show out in the formerly Vietnamese gang-dominated Footscray and find that the opener who doesn’t even have a Bandcamp page is your new favourite artist. And that’s another thing, these completely unestablished artists are actually so good
Georgia McDonald (I think that’s her full name??) is one such artist who happens to be really angry, was better than 47.9% of the state in her high school final exams, and an apparent contributor to the statistic of Australia having the highest rate of marijuana smokers in the world. As an introduction to Georgia, these details may very well sound far too personal, but all of them are contained--unconcealed--within the lyrics of her seventeen minute long debut EP Friends & Bowler’s Run
. It’s an absolute waterfall of pouring emotions, with witty and confessional recollections gushing out by the litre. Within the space of the first song she remembers buying a homeless man fries, pledges that she’ll be happy “one of these days”, denounces her rhyming ability, and even proclaims that sometimes she wants to “hit that bitch with a brick in the face”. Lyrical poetry and subtlety are rarely present, but Georgia’s messy assembly of memories and honest self-examinations paint the vivid picture of the life of an earnest folk punk hero who, in a very Jeff Rosenstock
en manner, is mostly unbothered by joblessness and failures within traditional social structures. In her own words, “i live out of 5 milk crates and a drawer, i'm really happy.” [sic
Georgia’s music, on the other hand, confidently presents itself as a rock solid foundation for what hopes to be the rich future of a budding musician with a fresh sound. Rooted in simple chord progressions, flowing song structures that often lack a chorus and powerful spectacles of emotional catharsis, she combines the fire of Regina Spektor
’s more forceful vocal performances with the punk rock simplicity and raw passion of Wil Wagner
’s solo work. Additionally, Georgia dedicates the songs “Maggie” and “America” to both the piano and two people who are close to her, the former directed at the titular character who “saw the best” in her and the latter subtitled “for my father”. These piano tracks play less like folk anthems as much as detailed letters, and the EP is all the better for it: “Maggie” and “America” provide a change of pace that holds back on the angry folk element but proves no less powerful with Georgia reaching her absolute vocal height on a “woah-oh-oh” climax just before “America” starts to wind down. Her composition is no doubt quite simple, but Georgia’s ability to rigorously exercise her emotional limits throughout the EP is striking and occasionally has the ability to absolutely floor listeners.
Despite the clear show of ability exhibited on Friends & Bowler’s Run
, this is only the beginning for not only Georgia’s discography but also her musical evolution. While on a song like “America” she masters a set of builds and falls, compressions and decompressions, and even a single, epic cumulative height, other tracks like “Swinburne” are less establishing and memorable. It’s less a hindrance as much as a promise that is basically stated by Georgia herself on this EP, yelled in half-time on “America”: “oooooooone daaaaaaaaaay, I’m gonna be a star”. Georgia Maq is here, guys, yelling and sweating for her beautifully, crushingly honest brand of folk punk music and that’s how you know that she’s doing it right.