Gemma Ray: Island Fire (Shock)

 |   |  1 min read

Gemma Ray: Flood and a Fire
Gemma Ray: Island Fire (Shock)

At a time when many young bands and singers seem nostalgic for an Eighties pop they never knew, it's refreshing in a weird way this British singer -- here on her third album -- is prepared to trawl rather more widely.

Gemma Ray effortlessly notches up references to an oddball take on Fifties pop ( the delightful shoop-shoop ballad sound of "you should, should" Put Your Brain in Gear "before you open up your mouth") as much as swirling and slightly mad take on dreamy sci-fi psychedelia (Troup de Loup) and surf-influenced psychedelics (the languid Make it Happen).

In addition she has collaborated with Sparks on their How Do I Get to Carnegie Hall? and Eaten by the Monster of Love.

She also has a nice line in hook-you lyrics: "I thought you were sleeping, you seemed as right as rain the day before, I never dreamt you wouldn't wake, I never dreamt that you would take them all" which opens to a guitar-twang on Runaway which then morphs into a moody pop ballad.

And on Fire House: "The fire in the house went on for days and days, I was in the bedroom sleeping . . ." All that sounding rather chipper over piano and again girl-group backing vocals.

The ballad Flood and a Fire, and I Can See You, are all tremolo guitar beamed in from Twin Peaks, and Rescue Me is a dreamy, echo laden nod to girl groups of the late Fifties/early Sixties. Bring Ring Ring Yeah is chirpy pop, sort of.

More than the sum of these influences, Gemma Ray manages (by virtue of unusual lyrics and sheer self-confidence) to ceate something distinctive out of this melange.

Not an essential album by any means, but with each song a distinctive stand-alone unit and those dramatic electro-pop Sparks tracks at the end, this one will definitely keep your attention the whole way.

Strange, in a good way. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Paul McCartney: Kisses on the Bottom (MPL/Universal)

Paul McCartney: Kisses on the Bottom (MPL/Universal)

The distance of time allows us an even more objective view of the Beatles' remarkable and singular career, and the diversity of their songwriting. It is hard to imagine a pop band (She Loves... > Read more

Wayne Hancock: Ride (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Wayne Hancock: Ride (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Wayne "The Train" Hancock is best described as a truck-stop rocker. He's the guy you'd love to see at some juke-joint or country bar with his band as they take rockabilly, Hank Williams... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Shani.O

EPs by Shani.O

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more

Big Daddy Wilson: Thumb a Ride (Ruf)

Big Daddy Wilson: Thumb a Ride (Ruf)

This big bluesman with a sometimes gentle and soulful voice has appeared at Elsewhere previously with his fine Love is the Key which featured Eric Bibb, a singer he is close in spirit to.... > Read more