The Gems - Official Website - Interview


Phoenix

Sweden Country of Origin: Sweden

1. Aurora - Interlude
2. Queens
3. Send Me To The Wolves
4. Domino
5. Silver Tongue
6. Undiscovered Paths
7. Maria's Song - Interlude
8. Ease Your Pain
9. Running
10. Renaissance - Interlude
11. Like A Phoenix
12. P.S.Y.C.H.O
13. Kiss It Goodbye
14. Force Of Nature
15. Fruits Of My Labor
16. Like A Phoenix (Acoustic Version)


Review by Michael on February 24, 2024.

After being kicked out from their original band Thundermother, Swedish girls Guernica Mancini, Emlee Johansson and Mona Lindgren didn't go too long into licking their wounds but almost instantly founded their new band “The Gems” who found a new home on Napalm Records. Apart from the very matching album title Phoenix the girls are starting with an atmospheric intro they send a statement to everybody who doubts about this new start:

"Thunder and lightning
Won't put out our flame
We're dance in the rain til'
Sun is shining again".

Well these are words that prove how much they were hurt by the split and actually they are dealing with the situation around all this on the album. So you can hear this in their music first. Coming back to their previous band (and I promise I won't mention them anymore from now on) their style was much more into the AC/DC rock n'roll stuff they have significantly changed their style on Phoenix. On their debut you can find really cool sleazy rock songs which I compared a lot to some 80s bands like Skid Row, Guns n'Roses, The Almighty or McQueen Street. This is pretty much related to the guitar riffs which spread this beer, booze and armpit hair atmosphere from back then (though I don't assume that the girls have anything to do with the at least last of the mentioned things). But Guernica told me in our interview that also bands like Van Halen or Queen had a huge influence on their works. Well, I guess everybody will find out by themselves what The Gems sound like. But what there must be said for sure that the result is a fantastic rock album with some very fast rock songs that pretty much kick ass like 'Queens' with a very catchy vocal line and a groovy rhythm or 'Domino' which isn't a Kiss cover song but starts with some similar riffs, some more bluesy parts and very aggressive vocals. Obviously I forgot to mention ZZ Top as influences.

But the trio don't just rock, they also do some softer, pensive tunes like 'Maria's Song - Interlude' which is a very sad, violin-played introduction for the following ballad 'Ease Your Pain'. When my wife listened to that song, she instantly stated that Guernica sounds pretty much like Pink and even though she is always wrong with telling me what is good music she was right about that. Guernica's voice sounds very powerful and full and the range is pretty deep and rocks the song. With 'Fruits Of My Labor' we find another semi-ballad on the album, again with some very energetic vocals. How often did we get such semi-ballads that totally suck because of the weak vocal performance? Quite often, I guess and my all-time fave in fucking up a quite decent song is "The Ritual" by Testament. But the girls get a green light for that so they can also be convinced with softer songs.

With 'Like A Phoenix' The Gems also include their debut single on Phoenix which of course is an obvious step. That one was already released shortly after they formed the band, so some of you might have heard this one. Especially here you can hear a lot of anger and frustration in the again pretty heavy rocking music (and also some hope in the wonderful chorus) and it is great to see what they have made out of their situation. Just the best. And if they keep on being such psycho girls like in 'P.S.Y.C.H.O.' which is another stunning rock song with a great hook line, they will be a desired treasure soon and on a lot of party playlists for sure!

Rating: 9 out of 10

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