+ Steiner & Madlaina
It’s her brainy cool and her genuine passion for her art and her vastly underrated guitar skills that uplift her dreamy voice. That and her often dark lyrics sharply separate her from other artists with similar aspirations. Not easy to pin down but pop noir, torch song psychedelia, sideways blues and gothic folk are also styles attributed to her. What runs through all veins of her work is a passionate love for dramatic simplicity, which you can see also in photographs showing her distinct British beauty and emphasizing her knowing eyes. You sense a torrent of icy heat ready to explode in volcanic eruptions.
And on her self-produced 7th studio album with the odd title «Milk For Your Motors» (2014) it did. The album underscores her girlish voice but out of the blue it hits you with ominous songs like «The Right Thing Did Me Wrong» and «Rubbing Out Your Name.» Great also the single «Shake Baby, Shake», yes indeed, but not the way you’d expect. Artists like Alan Vega, Toby Dammit, Deke Leonard, Fiona Brice and Howe Gelb lent a helping hand.
Gemma currently lives in Berlin and that’s where she recorded her latest album «The Exodus Suite» (2016) which she announced as a «52 Minute Odyssey of Epic Torch Song Psychedelia». Ironically it was recorded in a sound studio at the old Tempelhof airport which during the recording sessions was unexpectedly converted into an emergency refuge for 8000 Syrians. You be the judge but like hell if that didn’t leave its mark. Obsessively sticking to her concept of simplicity on all things hers, Ray’s vocals were recorded live with the band, microphone spills were made an intentional part and only backup vocals and organ flourishes were added later.
Tonight, from the irresistible Gemma Ray, milk for your motors, balm for your soul and not too little honey for your money