- Arts + Culture
It’s an amazing time to be Gem Club.
The local trio — Kendall Square’s Christopher Barnes now performs with vocalist Ieva Berberian in addition to cellist Kristen Drymala — has just signed with the Hardly Art label for the release of its full-length album, “Breakers.” The label is part of Subpop, which backs bands including Panda Bear and Neon Indian. The nine-track album is due Sept. 27.
“We are super excited,” Barnes said Tuesday, reached as he was updating the band’s social media sites to reflect the signing. “We’re excited to finally go public with it. They asked us to keep it kind of quiet.”
The band, meanwhile, is still riding reaction to last year’s self-released six-song EP, “Acid and Everything,” including this month’s win of the Boston Phoenix poll for Best New Act of the year — although it’s had the new album’s tracks down long enough that band members said they were choosing song orders all the way back in April.
In addition to Berberian’s singing on three tracks, the band added instrumentation such as drums and horns to its usual, elegiac sound, Barnes said.
Audiences won’t get a chance to hear the new songs until September, though. Barnes said the band is taking a break for the next couple of months (and he’ll be taking a further break, from school, to promote the album) until a party for the release of “Breaker” on CD and vinyl.
“Gem Club are a special find, a sparkling rarity,” said Daniel Gill, who handles publicity for Hardly Art and goes on to gets downright lyrical talking about the band:
“Breakers” seems to wander, rowed slowly on a passage, secreting a message it only half-understands. Amidst the fog, however, the dim lanterns, and the specters on the banks, Gem Club maintains a clear vision, a clear voice, protective of its precious charge. Held crooked under its arm is a record of the kind of expression that can only ever be mostly understood, the way that hearts speak in codes unknown … “Breakers” is deep and wide, and quickly robs you of the ability to tell up from down. Breakers is many kinds of breakers, like what breaks the tide, what breaks the wind, and what breaks the heart.