According to Jeff Rouse, The Gemini is a Post/Punk, Cinematic rock project formed December 2017. Jeff Rouse has previously played with Duff McKagans Loaded, Tommy Stinson’sBash and Pop, Buckcherry, Alien Crime Syndicate and Fozzy as well as numerous other acts. Rouse enlisted quite the cast to bring this album to life, Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season, The Walking Papers), Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie), Ryan Waters (Roadcase Royale, Live Warfield, Sade), Shawn Zellar, (The Guessing Game), Don Gunn (producer to the gods), Keith Ash, (The Guessing Game, Star Anna), Gary Westlake (Every band), Kathy Moore and Jen Ayers.
The Gemini is clearly a very personal album, one that Rouse had no choice but to write. It’s a relatable story of lost love, betrayal, regret. Luckily it does not end there, one also feels a sense of relief. It is as if you feel resolution within the conflict. Rouse has a way of seeing the light, and projecting that into his music. According to Rouse, as these songs were coming to life they did not fit his band The Guessing Game. These were something different and had to stand alone. Enter The Gemini, a brave, emotional, somehow uplifting album.
This is one of those albums were the upbeat instrumentation may fool the casual listener into thinking these are just fun catchy tunes, not the case. Don’t get me wrong, they are very fun and catchy, but dig a littler deeper. Deep inside yourself, where Rouse went to write these songs. Its the same way a lot of people who are only familiar with The Cure from their radio hits. They may sound happy and catchy (a few are,) but the lyrics are deep, meaningful, and thought provoking.
All five songs on this self titled EP are very different from each out, yet fit together perfectly to create a very congruent album. I believe this has to do with the lyrical content obviously, but also the variation within each song. Every song is it’s own little wonderful musical journey.
The first track, “Fire,” is a perfect start to this album, it has a strong bass line and drum track. Rouse sings in a deeper register during the verses, it is as if he is in conflict with the upbeat bass line. A similar tension Michael Jackson has in Billie Jean. Although its not the same beat, the drums remind me of “A Strange Day” by The Cure. Adding to the unsettling emotion of “Fire,” is this wonderful old school synth that brings us into an unexpected and amazing chorus. At this point Rouse’s voice raises up to meet the chaotic energy of the music. oh, and don’t worry, there is also a short, spastic guitar solo.
I really like the fact that you don’t need to wait till the end of the album to find that positive energy. It is as if each song takes you through a wide range of emotions, hope being one of them. Recognizing emotions and feeling them is crucial, but working past them, and coming out the other side a better person is the most important! The Gemini is a great example of that journey!
The second track, and first video off the album, “Princess Miss Darkness,” begins with eerie synths and silky smooth vocals. This time as the music builds Rouse keeps a similar tone throughout, while increasing intensity.
If I knew anything about record producing and releasing single’s I would say “Fire,” as well as the third track, “You Can Leave,” are hit singles. Musically “You Can Leave” has it all, strong drum beat, killer “upbeat” chorus, and wonderful backing vocals. Remember my reference to how “upbeat” The Cure is? Lyrically Rouse takes us inside his heart, you feel as if you lived through and came to terms with a breakup yourself. As depressing as this song is, I felt triumph in it, very up lifting.
“The Art of Isolation” mostly stay on track. It’s somber tone stays fairly constant throughout, building slightly during the chorus. That said it certainly does not drone on. While the keyboards maintain the mood, the guitar and drums are a force.
Wrapping up the album with the same ferocity as it began is “Live, Love, Dying.” Another intense whirlwind of sounds and emotions. Hell, just read the title of the song!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love this album. There is so much to find within yourself in this album. A swarm of colors, shapes and emotions. Unconditional love and empathy, stories of lost love, betrayal, regret . Very close attention was paid to every detail of this EP. The clever and honest lyrics, every instrument perfectly conveying an emotion. Wait a minute, aren’t those astrological characteristics of a Gemini? When is Jeff Rouse’s birthday? (insert winky face emoji here, hey cut me some slack, I’m a photographer, not a writer.) This EP is perfectly conceived right down to the wonderful cover photo by Ernie Sapiro. So many emotions can been perceived in that one photograph. That’s what a good photograph, and great album should do. Give everyone something to hold on to, to find within themselves. But not to worry, If you are a non lyric, casual listener, there is plenty for you to. Rouse is not over bearing with the telling of his story. He bravely shares it with the world for those who want to hear it, those who can benefit from it. If you don’t hear the story, not to worry, its still a great sounding fun album everyone should enjoy! So many may wonderful musicians played on this album. The great sounding recording and mix does them all justice.
All songs written by Jeff Rouse
Recorded and mixed at The Office by Don Gunn
Produced by Don Gunn, Jeff Rouse & Keith Ash
Mastered by Ed Brooks at Resonant Mastering
Photography by Ernie Sapiro
CD Artwork by Gary Bedell
The new EP from Jeff Rouse‘s The Gemini is NOW AVAILABLE! Find it on Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon.com, Pandora, Deezer, TIDAL, Napster, iHeartRadio, Claro música, Shazam & many more!
https://thegeminiseattle.bandcamp.com/releases https://open.spotify.com/album/33sRr0jaTTj2b8K3IVEPgz https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-gemini-ep/1378109724…
As always please follow all the links and support everyone who made this album possible.