Ides of Gemini – Women (Rise Above)

Wednesday, 12th April 2017
Rating: 8/10

Dominated by the haunting, high-rising vocals of Sera Timms, Ides of Gemini appear to be a good match for Lee Dorrain’s Rise Above Records. Dorrain’s knack for signing up-and-coming female-fronted bands notwithstanding (The Oath and Purson instantly come to mind), Ides of Gemini’s psychedelic genre-bending shows they are capable of squeezing through whatever corridor is left of ‘70s haze rock and primal doom. On their third and subsequent best album, Women, Ides of Gemini have attained the measure of consistency they were threatening everyone with on their previous efforts.

A 2015 injury to original drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson forced her to bow out of the band permanently, prompting the entrance of Saviours sticksman Scott Batiste. Perhaps even more important is the entrance of full-on bassist Adam Murray, allowing Timms to focus solely on vocals. Indeed it’s Timms who steers the ship here. While J. Bennett’s riffs are often simple, yet supple, it’s Timms’ emotive, layered vocal outpourings that provide the element of conviction on jams like “Mother Kiev,” “Swan Diver” and on the forlorn closer “Queen of New Orleans.” And since Ides of Gemini rarely move the drums out of tribal/tom-happy territory, Women feels like one sizable plunge of hypnotic, mesmeric doom rock.

As indicated by its album and song titles, each song here is about a woman, whether mythological or real, with Ides even coming up with the stroke of genius to allow the fantastic Emma Ruth Rundle to appear on “She Has a Secret.” Such things all lead into what is Ides of Gemini’s most convincing expression to date, an album without boundaries, easily capable of drawing anyone in.

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