>Today’s New Band – Gemma Ray

There’s a club in Manchester that I keep getting drawn too, despite myself. I’ve never actually noticed its name, such is my rush to get inside, but I call it Nerd Bar, due to the overwhelming concentration of computer science and IT students that patronise it.

The music is a complex blend of the great (the ubiquitous Smiths) and the deeply abject (decade-old Fatboy Slim songs), which is tailored to the specific needs of the nerds: good enough songs to keep the party going, and songs dreadful enough to appeal to Jamiroquai fans.

Laugh at the sweaty, strangely-haired and weirdly dressed crowd trying to ape Jay Kay’s dancing if you like, but be sure that they’re thinking exactly the same about you when they visit your club.

Lights Out Zoltar! sounds like one of the so-bad-it’s-bad 70’s sci-fi movies that are projected onto the walls of the club, but it’s actually the new album from Today’s New Band, Gemma Ray. She’s no geek, but the macabre feel sloshing around her music similarly alienates her from the bulk of society. It also separates her from the hoards of Kate Bush-a-like female singers shrieking in the charts now.

(You Got Me In A) Death Roll, seductive, eerie and slinky, will have you under its spell, helpless and rapt. It’s a woozy, libertine and defiant; Gemma Ray is a woman who wants it her way, and will get it too. 100 MPH (In 2nd Gear) is a beautifully overblown, string-driven ballad and Dry River is just unusual enough to elevate the song into a newer territory.

Gemma Ray could hit the big time quite easily, which is an unusual occurrence for a band featured on ANBAD. It’s not that she’s commercial-sounding, but that she’s intriguing and better than her contemporaries. She’d deserve it too, for all the right reasons. Listen here!

Photo by Eric Weiss – www.weissbild.de

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