GEORGIA RUTH – Fossil Scale (Navigator NAVIGATOR099)

fossil scaleI really liked Georgia Ruth’s 2013 debut album, Week Of Pines. It was refreshing, a record of many moods that she had taken time over. She’s taken her time over her second CD, Fossil Scale, too but this is very different. Georgia Ruth has taken a big step towards the mainstream, moving to a big label, abandoning the harp in favour of piano as the instrument to write on and singing in Welsh only once, on Meic Stevens’ ‘Sylvia’.

Fossil Scale is rooted in Caernarfon where it was written, between the mountains and the sea, and its title is more literal than you might think. Produced by Marta Salogni and David Wrench, its sound is heavily dependent on keyboards and guitars with the addition of sarangi played by Suhail Yusuf Khan and featured on ‘China’. That touch of exoticism feeds into the album in other ways: synth effects and odd bits of found sound. The opening track is the single, ‘The Doldrums’, suitably radio-friendly but I find ‘Cloudbroke’, ‘When I Was Blue’ and ‘The Bodies’ much more interesting.

‘Ice Age’ is particularly good and I do have a fondness for Meic Stevens’ work. ‘Sylvia’ is the most conventional song on the album with a gently ringing electric guitar but my favourite is ‘Supermoon’ which begins as a pretty song but takes off into a flight of fancy with percussion and chanted vocals.

Fossil Scale is a big step forward for Georgia Ruth and I hope it’s as sure-footed as she believes it to be. She has gained a lot of experience over the last few years, including time spent in Kolkata, and this a confident piece of work.

Dai Jeffries

‘Fossil Scale’ – official video: