With husband-wife duo JOHNNYSWIM’s new album, Georgica Pond, Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano invite us to join them on an intensely intimate and contemplative sonic journey. Present are the lush anthems to which fans have grown accustomed, yet there is an even deeper element of lyrical tenderness that is heart-wrenching and utterly refreshing at once.
Named for a coastal area in the Hamptons where Sudano’s late mother, disco icon Donna Summer, visited and owned property, the album opens with a short dream-like track welcoming us into their realm. “Summertime Romance” is a sweet recollection of the pair’s beginning and a reflection on their life together—“You and I made a life of paradise of a summertime romance” they declare in the chorus. At the conclusion of fist-pumping track “Villains”, we get a tiny taste of beautifully raw studio footage, before the unfolding of standout “Touching Heaven”—a weighty accolade on an entire album brimming with standouts—“You’ve got me touching heaven…you’re my hallelujah….if touching love is touching God, no wonder I’m in heaven when I’m holding you ” they sing, accompanied by a gospel choir. Just when we surely believe it’s another testament of the duo’s love, the music quietly simmers as the couple’s one year old son Joaquin’s voice joins them, creating one of the most amazing moments on any album this writer has experienced in ages, and the song takes on an entirely different meaning. Brilliant.
“One day when I’m gone, scatter my ashes on Georgica Pond…come visit me often, just whisper my name…and I’ll be a lighthouse, you’ll be one for me” begins Sudano on title track “Georgica Pond”, as she sings from her late mother’s perspective and from her own, paying homage to her memory and processing her loss with aching elegance, undeniably raw emotion erupting from her voice no matter the dynamic.
JOHNNYSWIM shares encouraging words on “Let It Matter”, speaking directly to those who have been told they’re too much or that their feelings are in vain, before donning late night smokey jazz club garb with “In My Arms”. The choir comes back on “Lonely Night In Georgia” featuring sizzling electric guitar picking by none other than Vince Gill before we are ushered into the final tracks, concluding with an ethereal cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”.
There is no misstep on this album—JOHNNYSWIM’s pure honesty and raw vulnerability delivered in their powerful, electrifying vocals showcase their undeniable chemistry as it oozes from every track. Georgica Pond is absolutely stunning.
Purchase Georgica Pond: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/georgica-pond/id1144161024