Gem Club - In Roses

Not much is said, but a lot is told.

Label: Hardly Art

Rating:

Gem Club may lay out their minimalism with finesse and a grand sense of beauty, but their music is so drenched in misery that it can often be a little hard to stomach. Their debut, 2011’s ‘Breakers’ was so stripped back there was a sense that the instrumentation was struggling to keep up with Christopher Barnes’ vocals as they oozed pained emotion. Thankfully ‘In Roses’ shows a both simple refinement of their sound, and a slight expansion in scale. Barnes’ elegiac backdrop is finally as gripping as his voice - enough so to even shuffle in to the foreground without toppling in on itself.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on ‘Speech of Foxes’, which makes beautiful use of forlorn strings and eloquent piano stabs. But, to refer to any of the sounds on this record as ‘stabs’ is somewhat misrepresentative: they may be as light as a feather, but still manage to pack considerable punch. Barnes’ soothing voice carries a significant weight, adding further solemn qualities to his mournful lyricism. Not much is said, but a lot is told.

The power of ‘In Roses” emotion comes in how honest and upfront it is, choosing to forego all the fluff in favour of a direct shot to the heart. It’s beyond expressive, and it all comes to disheartening and dramatic close on the harrowing ‘Polly’. ‘In Roses’ is kind of a horrible record in a sense, praying on emotional weakness so aggressively - but, it’s so achingly gorgeous, that it’s hard not to dive in with a complete disregard for state of mind. Just remember to bring the tissues if you’re thinking of taking the plunge - it’s not going to be easy, but it’s definitely worth it.