I don’t play piano so I won’t pretend to know all about this, but if you shift through each track of Gem Club’s latest release, Breakers, you might notice a familiar sound. You hear a similar piano key. What note? I don’t know and it’s not always the same, but maybe a variation of that key. Again, not a piano player…
It’s fantastic though, because your already mellow mental isn’t scrambled upon song transitions on account of Gem Club wanting to “change it up” or tweak the transitions so that everything doesn’t sound the same… The dreaded blend together.
Forget that. I love that the songs have sound similarities. The fact that they do (and my theory is that if you listen to the album several times-which you will- you’ll be able to tell which song was which and pick out content) brings more attention to the lyrics and lets them be the declaration of a new track. Plus, they are so poetic and light. You’re free to listen to them and love them.
Don’t take the song blend aspect the wrong way, though. You definitely differentiate between tracks when listening. Maybe I should have put it this way: it takes a couple listens to pick out specifics, the subtle and not-so-subtle details of the songs independently. After the first listen, you regard Breakers as somewhat of a single work like maybe one long song. Nothing stands out (except Kristen Drymala’s “oooooohs” in Twins-it’s a decent first impression track.)
The album is a smorgasbord for piano lovers. I love the dominant piano. It’s that kind of piano music that relaxes your body and makes you think about life, the stars…love. And thoughts of love and finding it and longing for it and being in it would most certainly not be out of line as Christoper Barnes sings of it so sweetly.
You wouldn’t want any weak music styling tricks to break your momentum between songs. The album sweeps forward, it has a momentum, not like classical music, which can be abrupt the way it carries on and is unpredictable at times.
The cello in some tracks and Christoper Barnes’ lullaby voice strokes your hair and holds your hand. You listen to his breathy, sultry delivery of the triumphs and desire of love within the indirect story lines.. The piano tones have a calming, subtle drive to them, they beat forward but they take the vocals with them; and piano notes and vocals wait for one another between their highs and the lows.
Don’t people who are in love do that?
My favorite is “Lands.” The female vocal accompaniment by Drymala is special every time it’s featured. “Twins” and “Lands” are standout tracks with her voice in them.
With “Lands,” it’s a song, no doubt, but if voices could dance, the vocals of this track would bewitch a ballroom. The words are more like poetry with no meaning assigned-it’s open to interpretation, like musical art. (It must be a bit of irony that Hardly Art is the name of the indie duo’s label then, right?)
What you derive or project from “Lands,” or any other track on Breakers depends on your own headspace, just like art. Not everyone will grasp the same thing as the next person or themselves, for that matter.
“I’m building lovers in our bed, I feel no real danger. I’m filled with desire, the back of my head split wide open and I saw the look of lands changing.”
Listeners are free to reinvent the meaning of lyrics like these each time they hear them.