"Breakers" by Gem Club on iTunes

9 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5

49 Ratings

In love with this album...

Marifer Duran,

Totally Amazing.

Close your eyes and listen...

jat53085,

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.

About Gem Club

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 by packaging the disc with hand-stitched pillowcases. As the duo performed around Boston, alt-weekly the Phoenix crowned them Best New Act in its 2011 Best Music Poll, and full-length debut, Breakers, followed that September for the Hardly Art label. The group's sophomore outing, 2014's In Roses, was recorded at John Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone studios with the help of arranger/conductor Minna Choi. ~ Chrysta Cherrie

  • ORIGIN
    Somerville, MA
  • FORMED
    2010

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