Music » Livewire

Jem

With Josh Kelly. Thursday, November 3, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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It's not surprising to find that Welsh electro-folk starlet Jemma Griffiths got her start in the music industry on the other side of the microphone, working in promotions for a handful of clubs and record labels. On Finally Woken, her likable 2004 debut, 28-year-old Griffiths (who records as Jem) seems to have put her songs together with an ear for what sells: She sings airy, delicate melodies like Dido's, over the sort of gently danceable beats found on any number of compilations with the words "chill out" or "groove" in their titles. She hints in her lyrics at a mellow brand of metaphysical tumult familiar to fans of Beth Orton. She knows that juicy choruses are what music supervisors at popular network-TV shows tend to go for.

But even if Finally Woken sounds a bit focus-grouped at points, there's a reason gigantic corporations use focus groups: They tell you what most people like, most of the time. Which means that Jem's easygoing, radio-ready pop won't shock you, but it won't offend you either. Pleasant and surprisingly long-lasting, it's as dependable as a tube of Colgate.

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