Since their formation three years ago, the Washington, DC-based duo GEMS, comprised of Lindsay Pitts and John Usher, have developed a reputation for crafting material that’s intimate and confessional, and expresses heartache and longing paired with eerily atmospheric and hypnotic synth pop that’s subtly influenced by contemporary R&B.And the duo’s forthcoming full-length debut, Kill The One You Love, which takes its title from a line in Chuck Palahniuk‘s Fight Club will not only further cement the duo’s reputation for their take on contemporary pop, it will also help expand their already growing national profile.
Kill The One You Love‘s latest single “Soak” is a haunting song that pairs ominously swirling electronics, Nile Rodgers-like guitar played through gentle layers of reverb, a shuffling yet sinuous bass line, stuttering and skittering yet propulsive drum programming with aching boy and girl vocals expressing desperate loneliness, heartache and longing that comes as a relationship splinters apart. In particular, the song focuses on that feeling that life being irrevocably different after a breakup — that in some way just trying to move forward and live one’s life without that other person seems as impossible as breathing underwater or walking upside down. And yet, there’s a subtle ray of hope as the narrators of the song blindly attempt to accept the uncertainty of their lives. It’s an emotionally raw song that evokes yanking a bandaid off a barely healed wound — and it does so in a way that’s incredibly sensual.