Georgia Fair : All Through Winter
When I first saw Georgia Fair play it was in a support slot for Oh Mercy, and the Sydney duo of Jordan Wilson and Ben Riley performed a sublime rendition of Crosby Stills & Nash's Helplessly Hoping. A gutsy play no doubt, but they were able to pull it off - so much so that the pedant in me didn't even get riled up about the ignored third harmony part.
The wistful acoustic finger-picking of CS&N pops up at times on the duo's debut long-player, but All Through Winter owes as much to the alt-rock of Whiskeytown or Uncle Tupelo as it does to the golden age of hippie-dom. Enlisting the production skills of Band Of Horses' bassist Bill Reynolds, the boys went to Asheville, North Carolina to record (the same location that birthed BoH's Infinite Arms) and emerged with an album part indie pop sing-alongs, part melancholic balladry.
Opening single Where You Been? sits in the former camp, with a light and breezy chorus and jangly guitars balancing out the slightly naff song title… On Float Away, they seem to have already mastered the closing time boozy waltz, and placing it halfway through the album confidently states that there are plenty more hooks left. But through all the stomping drums and plaintive keyboards, Wilson and Riley's tight vocal harmonies remain the focal point, the occasional Australian inflection creeping in sweetly rather than becoming overbearing (read: Missy Higgins). I'm usually wrong about these kinds of things, but I've got a good feeling about Georgia Fair.
Expect big things in the future, because All Through Winter certainly shows that Georgia Fair can exceed expectations.
BY MITCH ALEXANDER
Best Track: Float Away
If You Like These, You'll Like This: OH MERCY, YOUTH GROUP
In A Word: Potential