Clash (magazine) - "[I]t's in the dark that FitzGerald truly prospers. FADING LOVE, an exercise in restraint, a streamlined ten tracks serving as the bridge between the brooding techno of Berlin and a UK garage sensibility inherited from London."
Audio Mixer: Mark Ralph.
U.K.-born, Berlin-based DJ/producer George FitzGerald made a name for himself in the early 2010s, around the time the British dubstep/garage scene began moving away from half-time dub rhythms and quaking sub-bass, and more toward the influence of classic house and garage, often being labeled as "post-dubstep" or "future garage." FitzGerald's early singles on labels such as Hotflush and Aus Music featured tight, clipped beat patterns, bright, expressive melodies, and manipulated R&B vocal samples, and defined the scene alongside work by friends and peers such as Joy Orbison and Scuba. Like those producers, FitzGerald's beats gradually became more four-to-the-floor, but maintained the wide-eyed melodicism and atmospherics that made them stand out from anonymous pumping club fodder. FitzGerald began working on his debut full-length in 2013 upon signing to Domino sublabel Double Six Recordings, but the album's production was delayed as he became disillusioned with the club scene. In addition, his failing romantic relationship had a major impact, and the resulting album, Fading Love, is a direct response to that. Six of the album's ten tracks feature vocals, but instead of the trendy R&B samples that were prominent in his previous work, they're all sung by Oli Bayston (of Boxed In) and Lawrence Hart. The lyrics, as expected, directly address uncertainty and disappointment with regard to relationships, and are delivered by dour British male voices. The album's instrumentals say all that's needed with their up-front, forlorn melodies and on-the-nose titles such as "Knife to the Heart" and "Beginning at the End." Ultimately, Fading Love is still a dance album, and the album's breakup theme is manifested with comfort and understanding, rather than lashing out furiously at the ex-lover or wallowing in self-pity. Vocal tracks such as "Crystallise" and "Call It Love (If You Want To)" augment the sad vocals with shimmering synth pop melodies and driving rhythms, and instrumentals such as "Your Two Faces" shine even brighter. The album cools down with ambient interlude "Miyajima" and midtempo closer "The Waiting," providing a patient ending to an album that gracefully deals with personal upset and disappointment. ~ Paul Simpson