Deborah Gee,
(Naked Music, 2000)

Deborah Gee's Portal definitely bears repeated listening if it is to receive a fair chance. On your first run through, it can sound very ordinary, and perhaps it is the folk-rock idiom that is to blame for this -- the music masks the lyrics. Deborah neatly blends folk with rock and while that can increase listenership it can also cause an artist to "fall between two stools" and this album deserves the wider audience.

Deborah hails from Texas and lists influences ranging from U2 to Joni Mitchell, from Peter Gabriel to Pink Floyd.

Like the best of folk-based albums, it is the story that matters, and many of the songs on the CD do tell fascinating stories which often demand repeated listening. Deborah is perceptive writer and bares her soul in song. My personal favourite track is the final one, "A Child Will Mend," which is sung a cappella and truly showcases Deborah's voice, her lyrics and her feel for a tale well told.

The track "Naked" is haunting and quite moving, reminding listeners that this singer-songwriter has a lot to say and some exciting ways of saying it. The use of words is powerful and thankfully quite clever.

This album is a "whole package" CD -- not to be analysed track by track. As the writer or co-writer on every track on this album, Deborah shows her mettle. I particularly like the way the song lyrics are printed on the inlay as stories rather than line-by-line transcriptions as is so often the case.

Deborah Gee is a star on the rise but because these tracks need to be heard more than once to gain full appreciation, she will need repeated air plays or adventurous record buyers in order to achieve her rightful place in the hearts of the public.

One minor annoyance that I find, but other listeners may enjoy, is the so-called "Interlude." It reminds me of some of the self-indulgent albums in the '60s when pop groups were in love with their own wit. Those pieces were funny on a few hearings but then got boring.

Deborah Gee is far from boring. She's a girl with many original thoughts and the vocabulary to express them and I, for one, look forward to future albums.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]

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