Release Date: Oct 30, 2015
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic
Based on title alone, it’s clear that Washington’s Gems are a band unafraid to explore the darker side of life. Itself a reference to Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, ‘Kill The One You Love’ is dark, confessional, and at times, otherworldly. Much like the novel from which it takes its name, it’s bound together by narrative strands of love, death and fatalism.
After a move to Los Angeles, GEMS return with their debut album Kill the One You Love, a set of songs that build on the dreamy pop of the Medusa EP with a smoother, bigger sound. Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher's music still evokes the sleek atmospheres of Massive Attack and the ethereal beauty of the Cocteau Twins, while also nodding to contemporaries like Phantogram and AlunaGeorge on songs such as "Savior" and "W/O U. " Pitts' vocals may have even more range here than they did previously, and Kill the One You Love makes the most of them on the dramatic "Scars" and "Heartbreaker"'s beautiful harmonies.
Following their 2013 EP Medusa, DC duo GEMS' debut LP finds Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher employing slick pop production to create a release that is atmospheric and fluid. GEMS' misty synth soundscapes on Kill The One You Love are a seductive combination of '90s trip-hop and dream-pop. Pitts' range of soulful, sultry vocals bring both Esthero and Dido to mind, but what really stands out are GEMS' penetrative, undulating waves of synth, combined with occasional spurts of samples and glitches.
Washington, D.C., duo GEMS makes existential confusion and romantic desperation unusually sensual and alluring on its assured full-length debut. Singer Lindsay Pitts and multi-instrumentalist Clifford John Usher deepen their sound after 2013’s “Medusa” EP with these haunted, hushed songs, featuring melancholic vocals and carefully crafted musical tapestries influenced by Cocteau Twins and trip-hop. Less visceral than Beach House and more rhythmic than Trespassers William, GEMS creates its own distinct shade of contemporary dream-pop.