George Maple has enjoyed the peculiarly Australian musical fairytale. A young star is, picked up by a booming label and immediately moves overseas. Tonight, though, the Queen is back – back to where the 24 year old behind the project, Jessica Higgs, studied journalism. Back to where the Sydney darling grew up and blew up.
The “first lady of Future Classic” – indeed the only lady on the rapidly growing label – is joined by fellow Sydney student Gordi and Melbourne’s infuriatingly cool Woodes & Elkkle. Gordi’s stunningly earnest compositions and updated folk stylings with synth strings, bleeps and bloops for the discerning mid-noughties ear comes over well to an intimate home audience. Recently signed, her second EP is due to land this month with Mushroom Music Publishing and will be undoubtedly well received. Woodes & Elkkle are each producers in their own right, touring an as yet unreleased collaborative EP. Recorded in a shipping container turned studio on an island farm, their combined sound drifts snowy vocals across trip hop-like percussion to create a lovely mess of experimental downtempo.
George Maple and her band appear to enthusiasm from a significantly unfairly under filled Manning house. The soul singer wormed into Australian radio and blogs everywhere with her lead single, Talk Talk, and its simple production gives plenty of room for an amazingly full voice that fills the vacant space. She has been in demand as a session singer, featuring on releases from label mate Flume & playing live with Flight Facilities, and it is immediately apparent why. As any queen should be, the artist is alternately imperious and welcoming, dramatic and direct.
Playing songs from her only release, the Vacant Space EP, together with a few new ones, George Maple is supremely comfortable on stage, even without star bandmate Touch Sensitive. The slick future pop sound that she has taken ownership of is as fulfilling live as on record and is only compromised by a notably brief half hour set. Appropriately, we were left wanting a touch more – all the more desiring of that album. Taking full advantage of her label backing, the singer is recording in London between worldwide events. Her exposure off only a short EP and at such an age is a testament to the allure of that voice and her delicately wrought songs. A successful homecoming for a product of both Sydney University and Sydney music scene, George Maple continues to hold (too few of) us spellbound.