Gem Andrews “Scatter”
The debut album from Liverpool singer-songwriter Gem Andrews is a lush piece of work; lots of strings, textures and harmonies. It’s a long way from most alt.country singer-songwriters too, being much more in the tradition of Joni Mitchell, Bjork and Margo Timmins (“Cold Stone Floors” is very late Junkies).
It’s also the classic album of two halves. On the first five tracks the arrangements tend to dominate the songs and particularly the vocals, which isn't ideal. Once we get to the home straight though things pick up.
“Garden” has a lovely lilting piano melody and the following title track (also curiously with a remarkably similar melody and style) is lovely. The vocals get to breathe a bit more, and so the album standout “Ladybird”, a poignant song about the narrator’s mother recalling her youth one last time before she dies, really hits home. Some great choruses help things along too, in particular on “Goldfish”. Overall though this album is as much about atmosphere as words, and you could easily sit back and just let it wash over you. Toning things down a bit would help and allow Andrews obvious talent to shine through better.