Departing from the intimate acoustic sound he has become known for, Ali George embracing new melodies and styling for his sixth album Platys Yialos. Containing some of his best material from the last three years, he performs with a full band and experiments with the effects of pedals. The 9-track album has a deeply rooted theme of love overcoming anger. Touching on the positives and negatives of relationships, he looks at how love can soothe issues and lift you up.
The eclectic mixture of music is made possible by the collaborators joining George. Featured on the album are Beth Porter (cello), Tom Allen (double bass), Jools Scott (piano), Josh West (drums) and Ruby Brown (backing vocals). Together they have created an extremely ambitious collection of music that keeps you riveted from start to finish and working through different soundscapes.
The album starts with ‘Wait for the Mist to Clear’ which draws you in with this soft yet somewhat melancholic opening. It leads you to George’s smooth and poignant vocals. The light guitar drive in the melody carries you though the single as the lyrics touch on concepts such as alcoholism and the impact this has on relationships. As an opening track, there is no better choice than this song as it utterly captivates you from the very start to the last fading notes.
‘Another Girl’ has a quieter vibe to it which is enhanced by the subtle piano lines. While this song has a slower pace, there is something enthralling about it. The melody has a simplicity to it with a melding of the guitar and piano lines. This lets you float along to the vocals that have this intimate vibe that George is known for. You can get lost in this song as the vocals and melody gently wrap around you.
The faster pace of the guitar on ‘Melanie Brown’ adds a completely new vibe to the song. There is a very folk-rock feeling to this track compounded by the electric guitar lines that make your head move to them. The melody has this infectious beat to it that gets you hooked while the vocals paint the picture of falling in love with Melanie Brown. The vocals are emotive on this track and Brown’s backing adds this extra edge to everything.
‘A Fine and Foolish Thing’ heads back to those negative emotions of the opening track, but focuses on a different aspect. The guitar line of the opening sets the sombre tone of the track before you are hit with the equally forlorn vocals. George’s vocals have this flowing depth on this track that takes you into a realm of depression and confrontations. There is an earthiness to this track as it bears down on you.
‘High Rolling Hills’ has this wonderful rolling drum that really gets you hooked. This track brings back some of the rock vibes, but it is softer than ‘Melanie Brown’. The imagery of this song is amazing because you can almost feel the air of the hills on your face or see the gently ruffled grass. There are a few layers to the melody of this track that help bolster this imagery. The drum has this wonderful steady pace while the guitar lifts your spirits.
The next track is ‘Meagre Heights’ and has these light guitar notes in the opening that meld with the folky tones of George’s vocals. There is something stripped bare about this song that makes it unbelievably intimate. While the vocals have a sense of sadness to them, they are entertaining and mesmerising. The light piano lines hiding in the melody adds this extra dimension to the emotions of the track.
‘A Song that Sleeps’ has a very country-folk vibe to the opening. The beat makes you tap you foot to it while the acoustic guitar draws you to the vocals. There is this depth to the vocals that creep into your brain and will not be dislodged. The piano line adds an almost smoky feeling to the proceedings that makes you think of those intimate music bars where you would listen to this live. All the instruments get a chance to shine on this song, but there is still something remarkably understated about it all.
The true folk vibes come back for ‘Through the Forest’ to the point where you can almost imagine walking through the forest with George. The intricate guitar notes gently pluck against your ears as they draw you into the stream of the melody. While there is a lot of gentleness to this track, it is worth listening to the lyrics instead of just relaxing into the music. The imagery of the lyrics is something else as the scene is vividly painted for you.
The album ends with the title track ‘Platys Yialos’ taking you to the island that inspired the album. The soft melody is somehow able to capture the wild beauty of the island as George’s vocals have this almost dreamy feeling. This track reminds you of that moment just before fully waking up when you still float on the cusp of sleep and good vibes. The cello in the melody adds to the otherworldly vibe of the track.
Platys Yialos will make you fall in love with the sounds of singer-songwriter Ali George through its rich lyricism, instrumentation and intimacy. The inclusion of a live band only acts to enhance George’s signature earthy sounds and add a new level to the intimacy that envelops you from start to finish.