George Riley Running in Waves PLZ Make It Ruins
George Riley knows what she likes. The London-based artist best lays it out on her recent stream-of-consciousness single Time. She wants her personal space. No small talk, she likes to conversate. With honeyed vocals over sumptuous, skittering production, she sings of “good guys, nice food, happy weed and Camper shoes”.
Riley’s debut album, Running in Waves, is her official statement on claiming her own authority and setting her boundaries. This declaration percolates across eight stunningly fluid tracks that span R&B, pop and experimental electronics. Entirely produced by Vegyn, Running in Waves unites two artists who revel in experimenting with genre and style, revealing new textures on each listen. And it’s all guided by a shining torch: Riley’s voice.
That voice featured on (and made) last year’s serotonin-spiker, Anz’s You Could Be. Building on the nocturnal R&B she explored on her debut mixtape, interest rates, a tape, Riley continues to hone her vocal dexterity. Tender vibrato and a breathy alto interweave beautifully with the glassy percussion and keys of Acceptance. On Desire, Riley takes influence from the Vocal Bible herself, invoking Brandy’s smokey timbre with delicately layered vocal harmonies.
A marked vulnerability also courses through Running in Waves. Delusion is a sharp-tongued ode to frenemies, while Jealousy is an old school R&B jam for the broken-hearted. “I wanna go outside/ Don’t know what I’ma find/ Someone different to the girl I was before,” she mourns over a smooth instrumental perfectly paced for a festival singalong. Vegyn’s productions rise to meet, and complement, Riley’s performance – from the diamond-sharp drums of Time and the dramatic strings of Sacrificeto the peak-hours electronics of Desire.