THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA
The Myrrh Sessions
Intense aroma and bitter taste, as the appreciated resin has. "The Myrrh Sessions" are much more than an acoustic re-interpretation of The Beauty Of Gemina's most acclaimed anthems. On their fifth album, the Swiss extract and amplify the soulful component which is inherent to their seductive sound. Without the powerful electro/rock cover, the romantic core which lies beneath their compositions becomes even darker and dramatic in this album. The new repertoire is intimate and magnetic as ever; the result of a complex interaction among pianos, unplugged guitars, violins and cellos. These elements are combined as in an impromptu goth-jazz session while assimilating folk or blues own sounds. These fifteen soundscapes of pleasant melancholy provide the appropriate environment for the hypnotic and spell-binding vocals of Michael Sele, who connects with the listener like never before.
The instrumental intro, "Myrrh I", marks the beginning of this introspective journey through its haunting piano notes. The following track, a re-interpretation of their classic "Narcotica", leaves no room for doubt. TBOG's hymns remain pretty recognizable in essence, although they are creatively transformed. In this case, the song follows the unexpected country/southern rock path in the last third, featuring excellent slide tappings on strings. "Rumours" appears devoid of its original energy and speed. The sorrowful lyrics increase their intensity supported by the narcotic percussion, the subtle beauty chords and the mournful vocals. Some solemn piano notes and the baritone-like vocals, perform the familiar "Suicide Landscape" opening in such an impressive manner. That initial lament turns into dramatic despair when violins and cellos make their appearence with a progressive intensity. I've always established a figurative comparison between this track and Friedrich's romantic painting "Wanderer above the sea of fog". Listen to this version, that visual metaphor comes to my mind inevitably. In contrast, "Dark Rain" and "Golden Age", have a barely outgoing nature as a result of the improvisation, and the blending of American folk and blues sound features in them. Following that western-inspired reverie line, we find a cover from the Talking Heads' classic tune, "Listening Wind", which is almost unrecognizable in this emotive ballad format, built on broken vocals and teargas guitar melodies, and "The Lonesome Death Of A Goth DJ", with the keyboard notes imposing a higher rhythm and the acoustic string players speeding up the pulse (featuring some invigorating balalaika lines near the end). "Hunters" and "Kingdoms of Cancer" init the last block, where beauty and anguish will coexist until the end. Both mentioned along with "Last Night Home" (and its spanish guitar intro "Myrrh II"), "Stairs", "Obscura" and "Last words", clearly give the main role to the piano lines and the classical string trio. Through these soundscapes, the dramatic vocal performing is appreciably intensified to the point of being suffocating... almost painful.
These Myrrh Sessions extract TBOG's organic sound essence. The deep lyricism, the Romanticism vibe and the placid gloom which define the band, find in this extemporised collection their authentic and proper surrounding. As a consequence, these masterfully performing tracks seems to be the true originals, which were covered in the past due to the whims of fate.
Review by Billyphobia