I’ll admit, I kinda slept on this album, which actually came out back in September. But the L.A. trio’s debut, Constantinople, left enough of an impression that I figure their follow-up effort is worth a belated listen. A two-thirds-female outfit that mixes shoegaze sounds into a lighter shade of doom with stirring feminine vocals: unlike those bands that put a pretty girl up front and sing about the occult, Ides of Gemini is something you don’t exactly hear every day.
Sure enough, Old World New Wave starts off with a bit of a doomy crunch, “Black Door” stomping loudly beneath soaring vocals that remind me slightly of Jex Thoth or Alia O’Brien. “The Chalice & the Blade” adds a lighter, airier touch reminiscent of their debut, despite employing some chugging black-metal guitars as a backdrop. The dual-female “Aaaahs” around the three-quarter mark really drive the point home, as they precede a slower, heavier, yet low-key riff.
The haunting vibe continues with tunes like “White Hart,” “The Adversary” and the curiously-titled “May 22, 1453.” (Guess I’m not up on my history…) As the soaring chorus of “Valediction” gives way to the winding riffage of “Scimitar,” it’s apparent that this journey doesn’t take you to a happy place, but the ride is still somewhat soothing, nonetheless.
(Neurot Recordings, www.neurotrecordings.com/artists/idesofgemini/idesofgemini.php)