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Gemstone Radar

Review by Gary Hill

There is a lot of electronic music built into this. Yet, it also has punk rock and at varying times calls to mind things like INXS, Depeche Mode and more. The mix of sounds is intriguing and it never gets old.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bootypop
This is so classy. It has a real Kraftwerk element to it in terms of the percussion and synth vibe. Beyond that, though, resides this smoking hot R&B or old school soul groove. This is danceable and just so cool.
Sex on the Side
Very much and 80s synth band kind of thing, this feels a lot like Depeche Mode to me in some ways. That’s a good thing. So is the song.
Set Me Free
Bass sounds start this, and then it gets some space music in the mix. It works out from there into another killer jam. This is more understated and almost like punk-based space music. This is one of my favorites, actually. I really dig the retro sounding guitar work on this, too.
Don't Shake the Boat
A soulful electronic groove, this is another strong tune.
Sky Won't Fall
This is an intriguing cut. There are things here that make me think of INXS. Other things bring it into Depeche Mode territory. There are also roots music, old school rock and roll elements. Yet, space rock is another valid reference point. The mix of sounds is unique and effective.
Motivation
I can make out Depeche Mode, The Cure and more on this cut. It’s a classy one, but not a favorite for me.
Mermaid of White Sage
This is a hard rocker that’s definitely space rock. It actually reminds me just a little of something Hawkwind might do. Yet, there is more of that 80s thing at play. It’s another side to this sound and another winner.
Fame
This is more of a pure electronic song. That said, it has a definite soulful groove. It’s a bit stripped back, but also very cool.
Secret Agent Man
A cover, this feels a bit like a cross between Depeche Mode, Bauhaus and DEVO to me. Of course, DEVO covered this, so that might be why it makes me think of them.
Paint It Black
Another cover, I’ve always loved the original song. This has that same great psychedelic rock vibe to it. It blends well with a Cure meets Bauhaus kind of vibe. This is another strong piece.
Cola
More of a stripped down electronic cut, this is fun, but not a standout.
 
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