Georgia McDonald has established herself in recent years as the singer and guitarist of Melbourne, Australia indie rock band Camp Cope, whose sophomore album How to Socialise and Make Friends (Run For Cover/Poison City Records) won widespread acclaim, topping a slew of 2018 end of year lists including NPR, Pitchfork, Billboard, Bandcamp, Stereogum, The Guardian, and Brooklyn Vegan.
The impact of the trio’s music on the indie landscape has been undeniable, with McDonald emerging as a brave, resilient, and often politicized figure. Using her formidable voice to fight for the betterment of the music industry and rally against sexism, racism and all forms of structural inequality, she has never shied away from the uncomfortable and difficult topics that dominate the news cycle.
So when McDonald describes her debut solo album, Pleaser (Run For Cover/Poison City Records) as “a love album”, it’s immediately clear that this is a step in a different artistic direction. “I think the main theme is love, obviously, all kinds of love. Love that you walked away from so you could love yourself, unrequited love, forgiving love, love with no point to it,” she explains.
The album opens strategically with “Away From Love” – the only time guitar is featured on all of Pleaser, with the rest of the album done entirely electronically. “Away From Love” and “Like A Shadow” were recorded with Darcy Baylis, while the other songs on the record were produced by Run For Cover Records labelmate Katie Dey.
Pleaser’s 8 tracks shimmer and pulsate, calling to mind pop artists like Lorde, Robyn, Charli XCX and Gwen Stefani. “I took more time to record the songs and play around with them, and I liked that because I could change things and experiment more,” McDonald says, continuing “I think the pressure of working with other people drove me to finish the songs, which I hated but also loved because it’s nice to be challenged.”
While McDonald may have felt challenged while writing Pleaser, the experience of listening to the album is anything but difficult. Its unapologetic pop sentiments shine and delight, McDonald’s gorgeous alto soaring above each track. It’s a record listeners will find themselves quickly falling in love with and returning to again and again – and really, in times like these, who doesn’t need more love songs?