I just loved this new album from Gem Club...I have to think about top ten pretty soon and make room for it somehow. I missed the review at Dusted yesterday, because I just got up too damned early and they hadn't changed the content yet...but I saw it today.
Gem Club’s songs are dimly lit, interior monologues, at turns spare and lush, elliptical in narrative. Listening feels like following a thread of memory, now clearly delineated, now faded and misty. Even happy recollections turn spectrally thin and melancholy under this kind of treatment. “I heard…the party,” croons Christopher Barnes, in the song of the same name, his hushed voice evoking the time and distance that separates us from our fondest memories.
Gem Club is Barnes and Kristen Drymala, two classically trained musicians out of Boston, with, I would guess, a fascination for the evocative simplicity of Erik Satie. The duo’s playing on these wispy tunes is off-handedly assured, pared down and restrained. Even the French horn in “Twins” seems remarkably unshowy and delicate. The fragility and purity of these songs can remind you of early Low, the Lost Wisdom collaboration between Julie Doiron and Phil Elverum and The xx, though in this latter case, without the sexual heat.