The Gemma Ray Ritual - From The Teeth/White Bait

Bill Cummings 23/01/2006

Rating: 4/5

After assembling an impressive reputation, London born singer songwriter Gemma found a new musical canvas to work on provided by former members of Ten Benson and January. Freeing her to explore the depths of her musical heart and soul, this new project was given a name The Gemma Ray Ritual, imagine if you will Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fronted by Lorretta Lynne, then I may have painted an outline of this band's sound.

"From the Teeth" is brooding, dark and menacing. The textured bluesy instrumentation is breathed into whirling life by Gemma's fantastically expressive and powerful vocals. Like PJ Harvey, Gemma has the ability to thrust you into the eye of this gathering hurricane of a track. The repeated refrains rattle around your head("From the teeth of your home town/With a blade in your brow Who's gonna save you now?) before the song wakes with a fearsome breakdown of pounding pianos are sliced by a rapier riff, the musical equivalent of tumbling down a flight of stairs.

Second A side "White Bait" is a bitter tale of a relationship turned sour, with an insistent rhythm, a clanging alt country guitar and another exceptional vocal that calls to mind both Kristina Hersh and the Duke Spirit in equal measure. The lyrics are used as a bitter attack on her man's sexuality ("It takes a real man to keep me coming like a steam train over and a again"). This track is guttsy, raw and brutal: skin, bone and sinew, violence and heartbreak all inhabit the notes and vocals. To fully appreciate its full throbbing glory you must get your hands on this new double a side single from Bronze Rat records available in sexy white vinyl.