Reviewed by Martin Saunders
Thea Wray is blessed with great talent. Any listener to this, her first full-length album, will realise that within a few tracks. She has a beautiful, rich, broad voice, showcased brilliantly in the many high points of this own-label offering, and she’s clearly an accomplished pianist. She also has an ear for arrangement - often backing herself with the choir Anointed Voices to great effect. So, be clear about this: ‘noboundaries…’ is a promising debut and has plenty to recommend it. All of which seems to be heading towards an inevitable ‘but’. And unfortunately, there are some areas of this debut which don’t quite cut the mustard. In places the production quality is as varied as Thea’s music - sometimes it sounds like ultra-engineered ‘80s reggae-pop; sometimes it sounds like a man playing My First Bontempi Organ. And the dreaded electronic voice changer, also employed so infamously by Cher, makes a quite unwelcome appearance. That said, Thea’s strong faith shines through the music and makes you feel very forgiving about any shortcomings. This is heartfelt praise, presented in a rush of calypso, reggae and ballad, and backed by a first rate choir. There’s also a great 20-minute devotional segment at the end of the album which really adds value. If the production can be tightened up and a better piano can be found, Thea’s next album could be essential.
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