Throbbing with an alluring undercurrent of hypnotic textures, the brand new track In My Blood from Naarm/ Melbourne art-pop alchemist Georgia Fields is a meditation on the wine-dark waters that lie between desire and compulsion. A corroded synth line flickers like a detuned radio, cutting Georgia’s singular grace with an unsettling sense of menace. Pulsing with warm and wondrous undulations, the tension throughout In My Blood’s intricate – yet ultimately restrained – production builds steadily towards a beautiful, almost joyous sense of release. Georgia’s distinctive vocal brings to mind the piercing, understated clarity of Metals-era Feist, and the shoulders-back power-stance of Sharon van Etten.
Officially dropping today, In My Blood is the fifth and final single from Georgia’s third full-length album Hiraeth, due Thursday November 17. Pronounced “hee-raith”, the album takes its title from a Welsh word with no direct translation, referring to a profound longing for a home you can’t return to as it no longer exists, a sense of nostalgia or grief for the lost places of your past. Fans can also catch Hiraeth live, with Georgia set to tour the album nationally – kicking off with a hometown show on Saturday November 19 at Brunswick Ballroom in Melbourne, before traversing Daylesford, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Creswick, and then finishing up in regional Victoria at Theatre Royal in Castlemaine on Sunday December 18. Tickets are on sale now. In My Blood arrives hot on the heels of Georgia’s previously released singles: Tigress, Persuasion, and Holding My Hands Out – each track offering a unique insight into the forthcoming album’s bold melodics, visceral arrangements, and intimate yet assured vocal delivery. In My Blood invites the listener into a world of sonic beauty, while also grappling with themes of addiction, trauma and recovery. Conceived against the backdrop of Melbourne’s claustrophobic lockdowns and the collective anxiety of the global pandemic, Georgia elaborates: “I wrote In My Blood during the 2020 lockdowns. A few months prior to the pandemic, I had been diagnosed with acute postnatal depression and anxiety which saw me struggle to leave the house. Trapped in my own home like a lost sparrow in a shopping mall, I returned to some, let’s say, not-so-healthy coping strategies. Drinking too much. Eating too little. Wanting to numb some sensations and make others painfully loud. I started to question these old habits. Is it nature? Is it nurture? Am I broken? Maybe it’s in my blood.”
Produced by Josh Barber, who has previously worked with the likes of Gotye and Gretta Ray, In My Blood is a riveting and raw journey, gloriously nuanced, showcasing Georgia’s razor-sharp songwriting craft as well as the symbiotic creative partnership between the pair, which spans the broader album. “Collaborating with Josh was a dream, because he brings a huge breadth of skills to the table. He’s a world-class drummer, a highly creative multi-instrumentalist, and a meticulous sound nerd. And like me, Josh has an appreciation for kooky sounds. We
built the sonic world for In My Blood around the glitchy synth loop, incorporating live drums played with soft mallets, as well as a rusty old nylon string guitar, programmed beats, and a Juno HS60”, Georgia explains.
From stories of motherhood, infidelity, and death to rapturous anthems of healing and home – at its core, Hiraeth is an ode to the many languages of longing. Album opener Find Your Way Back depicts a childhood characterised by constant moving, where a sense of belonging is perpetually out of reach. Georgia’s percussive “shk-shk-shk” vocal loop was a demo placeholder intended to mimic a tambourine, but when Josh came on board to produce, he convinced Georgia that it should remain. This collaborative and experimental crafting of sounds became a signature palette of the album.
Persuasion follows with its smouldering, soulful slow-burn and Wilco-inspired fuzz guitar. Strident synth flourishes further elevate the warm, rich, and rock-solid rhythm section. The band provides a sense of gravity, anchoring Georgia’ insouciant sense of mischief as she sings – with tongue planted firmly in cheek – “I’m looking at him but I’m thinking of you”. Georgia’s vocal consistently steals the show, sashaying from a smokey, velveteen purr to a powerfully commanding wail. “I have plenty of songs about getting my heart broken, but I’ve done my fair share of misbehaving”, the singer-songwriter explains. “I wanted to write an anti-hero pop song.”
Thanks to funding support from Australia Council for the Arts, Hiraeth was recorded over a 6-month period in Josh’s own studio – a 1930s converted church at the back of his rural property in Mollongghip, Victoria. Georgia and Josh performed almost all the instrumentation across the album, with Jules Pascoe (Jazz Party; Husky) contributing bass guitar, and the Andromeda String Quartet making an appearance on three tracks. “Because we were working out of Josh’s workspace rather than hiring an external studio, we had daily access to his entire cache of drum sets and percussion.” That playful approach to crafting sounds and layering rhythms can be heard right across Hiraeth – from Persuasion’s odd-ball castanets to the ghostly terracotta garden pots on Holding My Hands Out. Otherworldly, immersive, and lush, Holding My Hands Out explores the primal desire we all have to be held. In Georgia’ own words: “it’s about reaching your hands out for comfort but grasping at shadows.”
Shadow and light, blood and water, are recurring motifs. Water to Water details Georgia’ experience of miscarriage with astonishing candour, inspired by Mizuko Kuyo – a Japanese Buddhist ceremony to mourn deceased foetuses. How A Girl Becomes A Puddle is an evocative vignette of relationship breakdown, bristling with tin-pan percussion and gritty saxophones. When To Leave The Party is a love letter to a lost friend, rippling with an emphatic beat and wistful woodwind. Album closer I Saw It Coming depicts the mesmerising nature of grief. Here, Georgia describes heartbreak “like a car crash in slow motion”. Simultaneously horrified and enthralled by the impending anguish, she sings: “I couldn’t tear my eyes away, I didn’t want to miss the display”.
While many of Hiraeth’s songs peer unflinchingly into darker pockets of the psyche, there is also humour and light. Write it on the Sky is a glistening, neon-lit anthem. Tigress is a fierce-hearted love song, with punchy drum-pad samples that evoke more than a hint of buoyant 90s nostalgia. An album to heal a broken heart, inspire new beginnings and ignite joy, Hiraeth is laden with light and shade. It’s been a labour of love that extends beyond the uncertainty of the past few years, as Georgia shares: “Hiraeth feels like a homecoming. These songs have been in my head and heart since the pandemic began, some even earlier. I spent a long time dreaming of this album and realising the sound with my incredible producer Josh… I listened to a vinyl test pressing last week and I had goosebumps – my whole body was zinging! But strangely, I also felt very grounded at the same time. I just get this sense that Hiraeth is arriving at exactly the right time. And I’m ready.”
A true artist in every sense of the word, Georgia Fields first emerged onto the local music scene in 2007 with her debut EP Drama on the High Seas of Emotion, before solidifying her reputation as one of Melbourne’s most beloved singer-songwriters with the arrival of her debut 2010 self-titled album. Landing Album Of The Week for both ABC Radio National and Beat Magazine, plus an appearance on SBS’ Rockwiz and the Queenscliff Music Festival main stage, Georgia went on to release her critically-acclaimed album Astral Debris in 2016, shortly after her first daughter was born. In 2017, she revealed a retrospective EP Afloat, Adrift, recorded live with the Andromeda String Quartet, and in 2020, after the birth of her son, Georgia launched Mother Lode: an online community for musicians who are mothers.
With performances spanning Melbourne Recital Centre, ACMI, State Library Victoria, Melbourne Fashion Week, Festival of Voices Tasmania, Brisbane Powerhouse, National Gallery of Victoria and Mullum Music Festival, Georgia’s chameleonic live prowess must be seen to be believed. Her captivating solo show sees the sonic shapeshifter move deftly between electric guitar to vintage keyboards and textural live looping, “painting entire worlds with her tunes” (Frankie Magazine). Georgia equally enamours when joined by her four-piece band of multi-instrumentalists. And on Saturday November 19, fans can catch Georgia and her stunning new album live – with some special surprises – as Georgia reveals: “For Melbourne, I’ll have my full band! It’s a matinee at the Brunswick Ballroom, which means parents can bring their kids. For the other dates on the tour, I’m reimagining the album songs in solo mode – switching it up between guitar, keyboard and live loops”.
In My Blood is out today, Wednesday October 19.
Hiraeth is set for release on Thursday November 17.
GEORGIA FIELDS – UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
SAT 19 NOV | BRUNSWICK BALLROOM, MELBOURNE VIC | ALL AGES Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets
SUN 20 NOV | DAYLESFORD HOTEL, DAYLESFORD VIC | ALL AGES Tickets available from daylesfordhotel.com.au
THU 24 NOV | LAZYBONES, SYDNEY NSW | 18+ Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets
SUN 27 NOV | IT’S STILL A SECRET, BRISBANE QLD | 18+ Tickets available from tickets.oztix.com.au