STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And let's review some music now. NPR music's First Listen at NPR.org gives you the chance to hear an upcoming album in its entirety before it is released. Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton helped choose the featured albums. They're the hosts of NPR's ALL SONGS CONSIDERED. Today, Bob and Robin have a hypnotic new release from the Boston-based group Gem Club. It's called "In Roses."
BOB BOILEN, BYLINE: Robin Hilton, what do you think of when you think of roses?
ROBIN HILTON, BYLINE: They're very beautiful and thorny, covered in thorns.
BOILEN: Good, 'cause that notion of the rose is right in the title of Gem Club. It's called "In Roses" and the rose is both full of sadness and beauty, right? The hospital, sickness, love, all those things, right in this music.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)
HILTON: Yeah, so the songs are very, very beautiful and at some times very sad. The previous record this band Gem Club put out was a bedroom recording. This one they did in the studio all to analog equipment, and they got an orchestra, a house orchestra to play with them, so it's very lush, and some of these songs, you can hear how the music just sort of swells and then gently lingers.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POLLY")
BOILEN: So this song, "Polly" Christopher Barnes, the writer of these songs, is talking about his aunt. She had Alzheimer's. He, as a young guy, didn't visit her, didn't do the things that we all should do to help. He's kind of full of regrets. It's about life not turning out quite the way you expect it to turn out.
HILTON: Yeah. The previous record was very inward looking. This one's very outward looking. One of the songs, called "Soft Season," is about Joey Stefano. He's a gay adult movie actor from the early '90s who died of a drug overdose when he was just 26 years old. And on this song, "Soft Season" Christopher Barnes captures that whole notion of beauty and pain when he says, Might try to hurt me, might try to love me too much.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOFT SEASON")
BOILEN: You hear Christopher Barnes' voice, but right behind him you hear this ghost voice, he calls it. This is Ieva Berberian. She sort of doubles his voice and it's a really beautiful effect. But not only that, they then double their own voices again when they do the recording and there's this weird, wonderful mystery about the sound of this record.
This whole record has this vibe. It changes the room when you put this record on.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)
INSKEEP: Consider the room changed. That was ALL SONGS CONSIDERED hosts Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen. And you can hear the full album at NPR.org/Music.