Thursday, 21 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #232 - Gemma Ray, "Island Fire"

Put in mind of Kirsty Macoll, I am. It's pop music, but with something moving around inside it. I'm not sure what it is, but it smells of healthy eating and self-assuredness.

"Trou de loup" (which might mean wolf hole?) has a swaggadocious Mariachi bombast underpinning its vow that "They won't silence us with their violence". It's retro like Hawley but without the sense of wife-beating. It's all lush and orchestral and slinky on "Flood and a Fire" and "Make It Happen" like Bond films from an alternative reality. Or the stuff that Barry Adamson does/did. She's from Essex, I think, but is roaming around some inner New Mexico, cranking out these ditties. "Holding onto memories a million miles from here/Opiated, medicated dreams that I hold dear," she sings sweetly on "Rescue Me", I can't tell to whom.

There's some broken glass in the dreamy swirl of the music, titles that "They All Wanted a Slice" back that up. "I Can See You" has bass strings thick enough and recorded close up enough to make the teeth rattle. The brass goes flatter but shinier. The bright vocal/dark message of "Here Comes The Light" is very Macoll, I reckon. There are two Sparks covers at the end, and I don't think they really work. Involving Sparks in any way strikes me as a good idea; but the production is maybe too smooth, the mania is too far, too hidden beneath the surface. "Eaten by the Monster of Love" is a good choice thematically though, as this is an album that seems haunted by monsters, most of them not directly referenced.

And no cupcakes.

Rating: Fashioning Old World Pop out of New World Monsters

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