George FitzGerald, The Let Down/Weakness

[Hotflush Recordings]

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It was inevitable that Joy Orbison’s enormous success would spawn a flurry of sound-alikes, and George FitzGerald’s Hotflush debut complements projects like Pariah and Sepalcure in recalling the English producer’s melodramatic, vocal-infused tracks. While it may well be an opportunistic move on the label’s part, The Let Down/Weakness gets by on its own merits; Fitzgerald clearly has an ear for structure and spacing, as both tracks cleanly unfold with much in the way of filters, builds and breakdowns — suitable material for the pulling of heartstrings.

Rhythmically, both tracks are of the standard peaktime two-step variation: swung but still fairly propulsive, with neither undergoing many changes aside from the occasional breakdown. “The Let Down” is the poppier of the two, matching a droning undercurrent with steely synths and an echoing vocal refrain. The formula breaks down to isolate a solemn, quivering melody, which is perfectly coupled with another rueful vocal sample (“I’m sooo ashamed”) to devastating effect. Meanwhile, “Weakness” is a dubby tease-and-release workout, and what it lacks in obvious hooks it more than makes up for in a dense groove, augmented by obscured vocals. Neither track is very groundbreaking — “Weakness,” in particular, is indistinguishable from a lot of other productions in the dubstep-techno vein. Moreover, the emotional highs are a bit sugary, and the heartstring-tugging may only work once or twice. Still, this is a strong debut, and the the quality of construction, coupled with an instinct for big emotions — the formative idea that a dance track can actually say something — hints at a promising future for FitzGerald.

Si  on July 26, 2010 at 6:51 AM

Aside from the obvious Joy Orbison comparisons, this is pretty good. Unfortunately I can see it always being tarnished with the comparisons.

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