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Review: 'RAY, GEMMA'

-  Label: 'Bronzerat'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '15th February 2019'

Our Rating:
In another life Gemma Ray might have fronted a Phil Spector style girl band singing pop tunes about boy troubles but in her latest collection of songs she explores more mature themes.

The Essex-raised singer's self-produced eighth album was recorded in Berlin and is devoted to the connection between emotion and landscape.

The record's title is a reference to how the scale and scope of architecture and the urban environment underlines “how small we are, how trivial the most insurmountable of our personal problems”.

In the "gothic surf-disco" of Death Tapes she asks "Are we drifting? Are we adrift?" and while the answer to both questions appears to be in the affirmative this doesn't mean the listener is led down a bleak road to nowhere.

In the title track she sings: “There are things that laid down heavy on me/ But now I'm free.” while on Dreaming Is Easy and the twangin' Land Of Make Believe she is determined to relish the fleeting moments of pleasure to be gained from losing herself in a fantasy world.

In Colour is the album's most personal song written in the form of a final letter to her dying grandmother. Even here, though, the emphasis is on holding onto life-affirming thoughts.

The determination to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive is also resolutely present in It's Only Loneliness with lyrics intended to be in the spirit of Ira Gershwin.

Ray says “For me, making a record is always in the end about celebrating my personal downsides or weaknesses and turning them into something that brings me joy, but hopefully speaks to others.

This one speaks.

Gemma Ray's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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RAY, GEMMA - Psychogeology