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iTunes Review

Gem Club’s haunting, melancholic music harks back to the early days of the 4AD record label and bands like This Mortal Coil, when such spare and emotionally expansive music was a rare thing. Today’s indie scene is full of pensive, gentle music, but artists as gifted as, say, Bon Iver aren’t so common. Using little more than piano, cello, and Christopher Barnes’s heartbreaking, glacial vocals, the Boston duo (with Barnes on piano and Kristen Drymala on cello) creates music that wafts by like a cloud. Resonant, solemn piano and cello notes are sustained in layers of white space accented by occasional wooden rattles or a rare percussive sparkle. Gem Club is all about mood: one built on longing, sadness, regret, and all those other pit-of-the-stomach emotions that pair so well with rainy afternoons. It’s also inarguably romantic music, and candlelight shadows would beautifully complement lyrics like “Just your touch could cure my lonesome blood” (from the stunning weeper “Twins”). Barnes’s noble husk of a voice wavers to make it to the song’s end, his two-syllable treatment of the word “mouth” itself heartrending.

Customer Reviews

Turn off your lights...

Just lay on your floor and turn off your lights and just inhale this album. It never gets old and it will give you peace every time you turn it on. I promise.

In love with this album...

Totally Amazing.

Close your eyes and listen...

This is a great album (definitely one of the best that I've heard in 2011), especially if you're in a pensive mood. Favorite tracks are: Twins, Breakers, I Heard the Party, and Black Ships.


Formed: 2010 in Somerville, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Combining airy vocals with orchestral arrangements, Gem Club delivers a polished take on dream pop. Formed in Somerville, Massachusetts, singer/pianist Christopher Barnes is the principal group member, but brought classically trained cellist/bells/singer Kristen Drymala into the fold after hearing her perform at a party. The pair self-released the Acid and Everything EP in summer 2010, catching the attention of Paste magazine’s blog, as well as taking the concept of bedroom recording a step further...
Full Bio