ABOVE: GEMS. PHOTO COURTESY OF KRISTEN WRZESNIEWSKI.
Rising electronic duo Gems are looking for something deeper with their debut full-length, Kill the One You Love (out tomorrow, October 30, via Carpark Records). Rife with frank, heart-on-your-sleeve poetics and atmospheric instrumentals, the release lives up to Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher’s 2013 EP Medusa. While each song is explicitly autobiographical, what resonates throughout the 11 tracks is what the duo has come to refer to as an “existential longing”—something listeners may know a thing or two about in this hyper-digital age.
“Thematically, it’s the feeling of reaching or striving for something that you can’t quite put your finger on—this kind of transcendental experience,” John Usher says. “It’s that thing that flips you out of your every day; that cuts you to the core. We’ve always been striving to do that ourselves.”
Just before Kill the One You Love’s release, we’re pleased to premiere Gems’ music video for “Soak.” Written, directed, and produced in Argentina by Wacho, the four-minute clip deconstructs a pair of codependent lovers in a sun-drenched bedroom, abandoned beach, and eventually, a vacuum of black. “When we fell in love, I fell into a black hole / I’m black and blue,” Pitts sings in the song’s opener. Considering the repetitious verse—”I am your water to float in”—”Soak” also draws a fine line between love and masochism. Kill the One You Love, indeed.
“Writing with somebody, you have to give up something of yourself and trust someone else,” John Usher continues. “Right when we met, we had this sort of chemistry where we’d read each other’s minds. I think this song shows that. It’s got the call-and-response vocals and us playing off of each other instrumentally.”
Speaking further on the duo’s existential longing, John Usher says, “The point of this album is that you can’t necessarily fill that void with another person. The album title isn’t literal. It’s more like, ‘If you think you’ve found the answer, then you haven’t.'”
KILL THE ONE YOU LOVE IS OUT VIA CARPARK RECORDS TOMORROW, OCTOBER 30. FOR MORE ON GEMS, VISIT THE DUO’S WEBSITE.