Christopher Barnes of Gem Club (Photo by Jared Graves)
Gem Club are a pair of classically trained musicians who met at an art gallery. It’s only fitting, then, that their music reminds us of a Sunday afternoon gazing at impressionist paintings and sipping strong green tea.
“I think it’s contemplative,” says Christopher Barnes, the half of Gem Club who plays piano, provides vocals and comes up with the duo’s thoughtful lyrics. The other half of Gem Club is Boston Conservatory-trained cellist Kristen Drymala, whom Barnes met while she was playing at a gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
For their new album, Breakers, which is out now on Hardly Art, the pair followed the same basic formula as Barnes used to record their debut EP (Acid and Everything). Barnes did the basic tracking in his bedroom and then headed down the street to Q Division Studios “to slap on the ‘schmutz’ and the magic.”
We like how Barnes, a composer whose music mines the deepest wells of human emotion, can describe the recording process as slapping on the “schmutz.” And we like the feeling we get when we listen to “Twins,” like we’re peaking in between all those Matissian daubs of paint to find that the water behind the water is really the green tea that we just drank.