Starting with the radio single Look, the album is off to a splendid start. The catchy, sing-along rock & roll of the song inspires the listener to actively interact with the song. The infectious guitar riffs and clever hooks are spiced up with the passionate vocals and Look just has it all. And on Blisters, the band just keeps going. With the fast-paced rhythms and cool clap-alongs, the band creates a connection. The energetic, highspeed Brit-feel rock song has the right energy to keep the rock & roll fans going.
Why take the foot of the pedal if you’re making good time? Indeed, cause on Shoes, Gem keeps doing what they do best, playing strong riffs, catchy hooks and infectious rock & roll. Shoes is a little more raw, especially vocally, and it is more soaked with emotion than the previous songs, which makes it even better.
And the mid-tempo rock & roll anthem She Said Oh Oh Oh, – I Said Yeah Yeah Yeah will be the next single, and why not, it’s incredibly catchy and has superb sing-along properties. Combine this with the recognizable riffs and Maurits Westerik’s empathic vocals and you have a success waiting to happen.
Down is a nice song, mid-tempo rock & roll, but the synthesizer parts are a little mediocre. It doesn’t sound like real copper, it’s like canned-food, it sustains you, but it doesn’t satisfy you. While the song has plenty of potential and holds its own in a live set, the album version leaves me hopping on two thoughts. There’s more in this song than the album verison gives it credit for. With Jupiter, the band increases the tempo and intensity of the music again, and you can immediately feel it works. The uptempo rock & roll is what the band does best. The vocal mixes aren’t quite as perfect as on Look and Shoes but in a way that’s also the charm of the song. Makes it more real in some aspects.
Gimme is one of those songs where you think: close, but not close enough. Which is a little strange, cause the band nails it live. But the song misses a little edginess on the album. The energy doesn’t come to a full climax, as the band is very capable of. But the song is essentially one of the best on the album, and the appreciation for the song will grow after you hear it live. With a little different mixing it could just be a radio single too.
On Cold, the band just pushes all the right buttons. It’s probably tied for best song on the album. The raw vocals and the energetic, yet not oo fast-paced rhythm of the song has some clever musical solutions and the guitar riff keeps the song in check at all times.
Comfort is another pretty clever song. The intro builds up to a steady rock song that has a nice groove and a little Brit-rock vs. Chili Peppers feel to it. Hard to put the finger on it, but that’s as close as I can come to explain it. The song isn’t the most inspirational on the album, but the way they build up to the climax in the chorus (which has a little U2-like guitar influences in it) is impressive.
The album closer, Today is the ending we’ve all been waiting for. The sensitive rock ballad that finishes up “New” is very touching and passionately performed. Gem shows they can deliver the softer, slower part of the genre as well as the highly infectious and catchy power rock & roll they opened the album with.
“New” is a very strong album, and commercially much more appealing than the previous Gem releases. Excelsior has a goldmine on its hands and the people will definitely jump on the Gem bandwagon. The band improves itself every album and is a class act on stage, so it won’t take long until they have their final breakthrough, not only in the Benelux, but also in the rest of the world.