Humble readers, I think we may have a young Tori Amos. Georgia Fearn, seventeen-year-old singer, guitarist, pianist… (she’s seventeen people, from Carmarthen, Wales) released her debut album Perfect On Paper earlier this year (March 15) and seems intent on shaking up the indie pop scene, leaving it concussed and bloody on the floor trying to catch its bearings.
Twelve songs, each a unique and inventive take on what pop music is in 2018, Perfect On Paper strives to be different without coming across pretentious or over ambitious. On the lead track “L’Amour,” Fearn sings with the jaded confidence of a cabaret chanteuse who has seen it all and lived to tell the tale, “Stay close every day, don’t tell me what to do, I drink too much and I tend to smoke a lot too, I’m high on love.” Amidst a vamp of accordion, a spattering of keyboards, violin and some casual drumming, a comparison to Tori Amos is an easy layup for me. I would have said slam dunk, but I’m white and 5’11, so I’m trying to keep this real. Perfect On Paper has many hairpin turns and leaps of faith that I think pay off greatly due to clever song construction and well… talent. This is typically where I’d state that Georgia Fearn is trying to do too much on this record, but I’m not gonna do it; it’s actually one of the rare instances where cohesion can be thrown out the window and somehow the album still feels unitary. Though this may seem paradoxical in nature, a great piece of art can make it work.
Another stand out track is “Misty Mae,” and though it maintains unique instrumentation, is more of a straight up rock song, pummelling guitar and drums at the fore front. The track also demonstrates Fearn’s song craft ability, introducing a character and developing it throughout the jam. “Does It Ever Make You Wonder” is a more sombre slow moving affair, awash with piano and violin. The song builds slowly but never over steps boundaries, remaining concise while subtly developing, just excellent song construction. “Sharp Objects” follows and again Fearn takes us in another direction, a more groovy bass driven mid tempo jam.
Every track embarks on a new path, deep in exploration, which typically leads to a few missteps, but Fearn remains sure footed throughout this debut album. Demonstrating a confidence and creativity that often takes half a lifetime to develop, Perfect On Paper is an uncanny debut that should be listened to over and over and over and over again.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Danielle Kenedy