Kill The One You Love is the first full-length fruit of the collaboration between Clifford John Usher and Lindsay Pitts, working under the name GEMS. They’ve made a record that sounds like wide-screen electro-pop made by shoegaze fans, with plenty of brooding electronic swells sweeping in and out. On Carpark.
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We all got places to be and only so much time to ourselves, so how about some indie rock fast-tracking? Gems sound like Beach House’s glittery guitar melodies synergising with the glitzier slowcore of Low, the emotive grooves of Blood Orange and a bit of bold, expectant London Grammar production. Their new record, ‘Kill The One You Love’, is nothing to scoff at, a textbook of banner styles that sounds compacted, but still strangely emotive.
It’s only the presentation that’s going to put you off: songs like “Soak” are scoped out to sound huge and acoustically imposing, like tall buildings hovering over a humble pedestrian. The dual vocals, though, are centering, exchanging wistful sighs over the polished clicks and elegiac riffs. Under the epic production coating is a vulnerability that makes your favourite indie rock wayfarers so appealing.
Gems are also good at twisting their sound, maneuvering it from the groaning loops and shuffled beats that open “Living As a Ghost” into its shivering post-punk riffing. “Heartbreaker” couples a programmed beat with buried guitar strums and fading vocals, trading the record’s huge stylisings for a moment in the mud. They’re full of ideas, are Gems, and soon enough those ideas will be entirely their own.
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