Aussie George Maple’s debut has been a long time coming: ‘Lover”s first single was released all the way back in April 2016. After such a long gestation period, leading to twenty tracks consisting of full electronic soul songs and spoken interludes about what love is, listeners still perhaps wouldn’t expect an odyssey across the full spectrum of romance.
It opens with a conversation about how love is not entirely about sexuality. Beat-heavy R&B opening track ‘Sticks and Horses’ begs to differ, as it focuses upon the inevitability of sex and dominance – “read my lips, don’t touch my heart, ‘coz I know you’ll want it”. Intimacy is a very prevalent theme throughout the album, and what instead varies most, is how George feels about it.
‘Lover’ resembles the setting of a bustling nightclub, George on the dancefloor, spotting somebody else’s romantic joy or misery from across the room, only for her surroundings to fade away to become illegible noise, as she reflects upon the time that happened to her.
There is something a lot more absorbing about the atmosphere when it seems to acknowledge the tug of war between love and sex. ‘Hold Me By the Waist’ begins with a spoken sample of the reading of a Baudelaire poem. The original poem was about dancing a waltz, spoken in the ‘language of love’. Still, George leads listeners into grittier territory, begins by breathing her intimate lyrics (“you whisper and unwind, tear off my corset…”), backed by low and liquid electronic hums and twinkling piano. By the first chorus, all synth has exploded with ecstasy, and come the last few lines, George’s falsetto voice asks her partner to “give me space, let me go home”.
Not only is she setting her partner straight on their relationship, but George is beautifully trying to piece together what it means to be in love, and what the subsequent duties are. George is at her most intriguing and relatable when she’s at her most confused and melancholic.