You might remember that last week, I wrote about the Washington, DC-based duo GEMS. Comprised of Lindsay Pitts and John Usher, the duo have developed a reputation for crafting material that’s intimate and confessional, and expresses heartache and profound longing. Sonically, their material manages to possess elements of contemporary synth pop and R&B, which emphasizes the ache at the core of the material.
With the recent release of the duo’s full-length debut, Kill The One You Love, the duo have started to receive attention across the blogosphere for their unique take on contemporary pop — and as a result, their already growing national profile has started to expand quite a bit. 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.
The recently released official video was produced by the production team WACHO and in press notes the team explains their video treatment as follows: “The film portrays a young couple’s relationship mutating/deteriorating through different scenarios. What holds them together is what is making them fall apart. This destructive impulse will be personified as a menacing force, external to the couple, materialized in nature, faceless characters, darkness and confined spaces. The external force is the fear of: loneliness, losing identity, the void.” The video presents contradictions between peace and destruction, togetherness and loneliness, light and darkness, dreams and nightmares, reality and the surreal and so on.
Interestingly, the directors’ use of the word “film” is fitting since the video has a gorgeous, cinematic quality that not only adds a dramatic heft to the proceedings but will make you want to watch the video in full-screen to capture the sumptuous, sensual imagery.