George Riley: Running In Waves (PLZ Make It Ruins) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, December 7th, 2022  

George Riley

Running In Waves

PLZ Make It Ruins

Oct 04, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


A year after George Riley’s debut album/mixtape, interest rates, a tape, established her experimental and free-formed brand of R&B, the West London-native has returned with Running In Waves, an ode to independence and self-trust that is contemplative and expressive. On her sophomore album, she delivers an innovative and full-bodied soundscape reminiscent of everything from cool jazz to jungle to Janet Jackson, gliding between introspective musings and proclamations of empowerment.

At only 23 minutes long, Running In Waves is both atmospheric and airtight. While undercurrents of synths and electronic beats snake through most of the tracks, the album fuses inventive rhythms with lush instrumentation, juxtaposing percussive hip-hop with strings and sleek bass lines. Unexpected sonic elements keep things dynamic, whether it’s the buzzing electric guitar on “Time” or the cascading piano in “Running In Waves,” providing listeners with an eclectic and futuristic take on 2000s-esque R&B. It feels at once intuitive and carefully arranged, a testament to U.K.-based artist Vegyn’s producing chops and Riley’s instinctive vocals.

And it’s true that throughout the album’s eight tracks, Riley’s voice acts like an instrument of its own, alternately soulful and celestial, biting and blasé. It’s the golden thread that guides us as she navigates fake friends and uncertainty to arrive at a place where external validation becomes meaningless in the face of home-grown confidence. Distinct in the soft assertiveness of “Jealousy” (“I’m not denying my wants this time/Even though that’s not what people want of me”), or the self-reliance of “Acceptance” (“No matter how long I take/I gotta trust my intuition”), the album is colored with a sense of steadfast honesty, one that comes from the inside-out, that can only emerge from fully embracing yourself and all of your wildest dreams.

And while this sentiment—already well-documented and frequently explored in the music of fellow 20-somethings—could easily have fallen flat, dynamic production choices and unassuming lyrical vulnerability make the record memorable and forward-facing. It’s clear that Riley is looking back without turning back, reflecting on how she got to where she is while boldly charging ahead on a road she’s paving herself. (www.georgeriley.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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