First off, this review is WELL late. I’ve had the EP since a wee bit before it was due to come out, fully intended to review it before the release date and then the radio kind of got in the way. On the plus side it does mean that I’ve played her on the show. Twice. Anyway, sorry Jemma (and everyone reading).
So who the hell is Jemma Tweedie? Well she’s a young lady from Nairn, now Glasgow so she’s one of those not local locals, who plays the guitar and sings songs. She does these things (spoiler alert) rather well. I just read that she’s only been playing since last Christmas (I think) and has only been at it since August, which is frankly mind blowing on both counts. In addition to, probably on the back off, the EP she’s had a couple of good support slots in that time and a bit of radio play. Including landing on the radar of some bloke at 6 Music and of course ME! I’m the important one because the 6 Music guy isn’t Marc Reilly.
Only joking, that’s damned impressive. Marion Scott as well btw. Possibly others, I don’t listen to all the radio in the country.
So you can probably tell the general tone of the review then. Might as well get to the tracks. For a 3 track EP (commonly referred to as a 3P but fuck that, not a fan of the term) it’s very varied, showing quite a range of style while keeping to a general theme. And it’s all damned good. I shall now witter about each track adding themes that probably don’t exist and using terms that aren’t even close to correct. This is a review, that’s how they go.
Opening track Drunken Coastal Town will draw the inevitable Amy Macdonald comparisons, because she’s Scottish and sings. For once they aren’t too far from the mark but they’re still very distinct artists. The song highlights the dichotomy of teenage/ early 20’s life in a small Scottish town. Good times getting hammered with your mates/same bloody faces all the time and it’s a bit tedious. The song isn’t though. Bit of a country vibe, up beat pace, good use of near silences and just close enough to poppy in the Lilly Allen vein of things. Two comparisons in one paragraph eh? Minor comparisons though. There’s a wee bit of strings in there too.
Title track Two Hands is actually a wee bit risque if you listen very closely, but nothing that would hamper radio play. To me it’s about the start of a relationship, that nervousness before the first time something really happens where you’re at the “will I won’t I oh god” stage. The steady guitar in the background seems to follow a quickened heart beat pattern. Good use of pacing, sometimes bloody fast with the lyrics (well done) to highlight the emotional state. Second guitar and light percussion fleshings things out. Cracking tune.
And last but certainly not least, Draw The Line. Possibly my favourite actually. I think it could be about the end of a relationship, but I could be off there. The actual lyrics aren’t what does it for me though. Intricate finger plucky guitar work, including from a second guitar, the odd hint of xylophone and augmenting strings. Just enough echo on the vocals for depth without overly distorting things. And not too much acoustic guitar squeal. You know what I mean, the chord change noise. Too much of that gets tedious, though it can be understandably unavoidable, just enough gives it a live kind of vibe. The balance is spot on.
So nice and varied. Quite poppy with a bit of country ending on folk. Can’t ask for much more from 3 tracks really. Two Hands is available from all good digital outlets, take your pick, and physically at a gig which is best as the musician gets more of the money that way (some times it’s cheaper too). It’s also in a store in Gairloch. Her page is called Jemma’s secret music page but at the rate she’s going it won’t be a secret for long. Hopefully.
And yes, she’s got a solid spot on my play list so expect to hear a track every couple of weeks on one of my shows.