GEMS - Kill the One You Love [LP]
When Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher first met, their
connection was instantaneous. That bond still fuels their art.
As GEMS, they self-released the Medusa EP in 2013, a debut
with a remarkably mature sound. On Medusa, Lindsay's
haunting and deeply emotive vocals provide the backbone
for Clifford's dark and dreamy production, balancing gauzy
atmospherics with emotional heft. That mix finds new tension
and release on GEMS' first full-length album, Kill the One You
Love. The record more deeply indulges in the group's
evocative shadow pop, influenced by R&B production and
shoegaze. At the core of GEMS' music is existential longing.
Lindsay and Clifford try to capture the intangible and they
arrive closest with Kill the One You Love. ''Music is a
never-ending process of learning and growing and reaching,''
Clifford says. ''Of stepping outside of what is familiar
and moving into a place where there aren't answers.''
Since the project's inception, GEMS have matched their
visuals to their music, favoring grayscale imagery that's
equal parts elegance and sparsity (? la Antonioni). Kill the
One You Love offers their sound as the true root of this
aesthetic - stylistic restraint that, though stark, remains flush
with emotion. The album opens in Art of Noise territory with
''Blood Runs'' and ''w/o u,'' unhurried mood-setters with a
chill-out sense of liltingness and club-friendly low end. Songs
like ''Scars'' and ''Tangled Memories,'' with their delayed
chords, ethereal vocals, and clean guitar lines evoke early
Cocteau Twins. ''Soak,'' ''Heartbreaker,'' and ''White Light''
integrate urgency and climax, reaching great heights with
heavy, distorted guitar and vocal mutations. Lindsay's lyrics
wrestle throughout with the difficulties of being close to
another. ''Can you make me whole?,'' she asks on ''w/o u.''
Between doubts and confirmations on ''Soak,'' she offers ''I
am your water to float in.'' GEMS are searching for that ray of
light in the darkness. Kill the One You Love is an album of
hurt, longing, and the beauty found in that space between.
It's music for the heartbroken but hopeful.
1. Blood Runs
2. w/o u
4. Living as a Ghost
5. Empires Fall
8. Tangled Memories
11. White Light
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