While the guys from Gem have obvious talent, their songs are good only in moderation, because 75% of the album sounds like one song. Compared to Guided By Voices, their hometown rock sound is interesting and fits well with the writing, but they would benefit from a little more variety. Some of the best songs are the infectious sounding “Carcass And Crow,” which tells about a club or a place to have late night coffee, the Beatlesque “A Slow Crawl,” classic rock “Slow Recovery,” and the tragic “Nothing But the Quiet Now.” On their second LP, Doug Gillard, Tim and Todd Tobias, and Eric Vogt seem to finally have their band members settled after a long instability in the lineup. Riding on the success of their 1995 singles “Suburban Girl” and “Your Heroes Hate You,” Gem should do well because the sound of Sunglare Serenades is unique enough to fill a niche even though they really would benefit with a little more of a musical spectrum.
Pitch-A-Tent Records: http://www.pitch-a-tent.com