REVIEW: A wonderful showcase of capabilities
It’s new music Friday for me and I've fallen for this one like an 18 year old digging for vinyl who has just found a gem! Today I came across Gemma Dunleavy’s 'Up De Flats EP' and it’s an absolute banger!
Prior to today I was not familiar with the Irish songstress but her urban Dublin flava has got me hooked. The EP is a representation of herself but also a reflection of her community and surroundings, as expressed by the skit intro and title track 'Up De Flats'. The intro to this track has a great tempo and beat, reminiscent of the pop crossover 2 step garage that Artful Dodger are so famous for. The vocals are smooth, soulful and heartfelt as Gemma describes her life and love of growing up, maturing and having life experiences ‘Up De Flats’. This relatable, feel good, summery track got me thinking of summer holidays with pals, when we would run around south London with massive smiles on our faces.
Then we switch to the second main track ‘Cruisin’. Soul, soul, soul. Gemma is able to display more finesse, grace and vocal talent in this. A slow number in which she tells about a crush / love she is waiting to see. The longing isn’t pain but anticipation - the prequel to what she knows is coming. This track adds variety instantly, keeping the listener on their toes, waiting for what is to come in track 3.
‘Setting Son' is slow, acoustic, atmospheric and almost disturbing. It took me back to Nirvana’s 'Heart Shaped Box' mixed with Kate Bush’s 'Womans Work'. Again, unexpected but extremely well executed, with a track like this talent shines through because there is nowhere to hide - no heavy baseline, no high hats or autotune, just the rhythmic notes of a guitar and Gemma's voice.
Track 4 'Stop The Lights' is almost a soft Dubstep track. Katy B ('Katy On A Mission') would be a comparable artist but this is softer, more on a UKG vibe. The tone of the track is completely different from the previous three, making this a showcase of capabilities.
We finish with 'Return', which has an 80’s electro pop feel with synths and high drums. This sound has been very prominent in tracks I love, like CASisDEAD's 'Pat Earrings' or 'A Real Hero' by College. However 'Return' has a deeper tone and heavier bass line and the tempo is down. Gemma talks about frustration in a way that is so descriptive and relatable, verging on so many themes and emotions - hopeful with the synths, aggressive with the beats, calming with the break. This is so expressive, both lyrically and sonically.
For me, this is a must listen EP.
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