Though the downbeat electronica and laconic vocals of Cardiff-born Jem Griffiths find her lumbered with a “Dido-wannabe” tag, she’s actually much more adventurous than that. On the whole, Finally Woken wounds like someone finally told Beth Orton to cheer up, and at its best, the album finds Jem revelling in all the studio tracks available to her. The opener, “They,” loops in a nonsensical children’s chorus to create a mood of Danny Elfmanesque creepiness, while “Come on Closer” and “24” manage to use crunching electric guitars and strings wile avoiding any comparison to Evanescence.
The title track combines a loping beat with a jazzy vocal delivery that’s reminiscent of Portishead, and “save me” is a better-than-average R&B track that’s sure to be covered for years to come. Unfortunately, too much of the album’s latter half sinks into a slow-paced Didoesque electronic slurry, though Jem’s to be applauded for at least trying to liven things up with the cod-reggae of “Wish I.”