The Wheel sets Gemma Ray’s stall out from the very start. It begins as pop noir with junkyard percussion and Ray playing shuddering guitar chords like Link Wray’s Rumble until it suddenly breaks out into sunny vocal harmonies. There are elements of that early ’60s rock’n’roll soundworld dotted throughout Milk For Your Motors, but Ray’s arrangements are both unpredictable and inspired, and along with her vivid lyrics give us a series of remarkable musical tableaux. Waving At Mirrors is a brutal, but sweetly-told tale of a distracted driver making up in the mirror and ending up with her face “all over the pavement”. Such grimness is balanced by the redemptive You Changed Me, with its soaring orchestral backing. But the most haunting song is the fuzz guitar- and drum machine-driven Motorbike. “He always said goodnight,” laments Ray, except when he rode off into oblivion on this one fateful occasion. Suicide’s Alan Vega relishes his role as the voice from beyond the grave.
Milk For Your Motors is out next Monday, August 25, through iTunes, Rough Trade and Amazon. Gemma Ray is on tour in the UK, US and Europe (yes, we know the UK is in Europe) from August 23. Dates below, and more details at http://gemmaray.tv/live/.
08/23/14 Hamburg, Zardoz Record Store, Germany, 5pm
08/25/14 London, Rough Trade East, United Kingdom, 5pm
09/13/14 Brooklyn, NYC, Rough Trade NYC, United States, 2pm
09/15/14 Brooklyn, NY, School Night @ Brooklyn Bowl, United States
09/19/14 Magdeburg, Volksbad Buckau, Germany
09/26/14 London, The Lexington, United Kingdom
09/28/14 Newcastle, Cluny 2, United Kingdom
09/29/14 Leeds, Brudenell Social, United Kingdom
10/08/14 Berlin, C-Club, Germany
10/09/14 Wetzlar, Franzis, Germany
10/11/14 Stuttgart, 1210 (Zwoelfzehn), Germany
10/13/14 Munich, Milla, Germany
10/14/14 Hannover, Lux, Germany