‘Gemini’ is the debut album from Dorja, London-based rockers, but with members from Los Angeles, Dublin, Bristol and the Big Smoke itself. Press blurb informs that they have “diverse musical influences, from Led Zeppelin and Guns N Roses” which “fuse with the modern sounds of newer bands such as Royal Blood.” Hmmm… doesn’t sound too diverse, to me. Diablo Swing Orchestra… now, there’s the epitome of a band who can claim diversity. Not this bunch, it seems. Still, I won’t hold misleading blurb against them, as it’s all about the listening experience for me, and I like what I hear on their debut offering.
Initially, I found their take on rock to be a little jingly jangly and anaemic, and lacking the extra bite I though it perhaps needed... a bit more gain in the distortion levels would've been welcome. Right from opener, ‘Chainbreaker’, it’s evident this isn’t purporting to convey any kind of extravagant rock energy. But, as the album progresses, and on subsequent listens, it transpires a bit of the old jingle jangle is just fine with me. These ladies rock it out on their own terms, and there's some very nice stuff here indeed. And they do crank up the gain as and when songs require, to add a heavy dynamic when compositions call for it. They’re certainly not rocking on eleven all the way through, which is actually quite refreshing.
'Too High' and 'Silence' are highlights for me... particularly the latter - I adore this one. It builds up ever so effectively into a crescendo of heaviness and an affective explosion of emotional passion. More of this sort of stuff, please, Dorja! Elsewhere, tracks like ‘Reaching Out’ are more bread-and-butter rocking fare, but they’re executed ever so effectively, and with a ton of passion. And the more laid-back numbers, such as the title track and ‘Use You’, work a treat, proving these ladies can deliver passionate performances whether down, mid or up-tempo.
Vocally, the album certainly shines, courtesy of Aiym Almas, and through the backing vocals by 3 out of the 4 other members. At times, Almas has a gravelly blues/soul style voice; at others, a rich-toned, smoother delivery. Some nice vocal harmonies, too - quite organic and natural sounding, rather than clean and contrived. And the instrumentalists are certainly all talented folk - Sarah Michelle and Rosie Botterill’s guitars are varied in how they colour each of the tracks with the right kind of feeling in all the right places. And what a great rhythm section in bassist Beck Baldwin and drummer Anna Mylee (with the latter also credited with piano… a minimalist but beautiful example of which can be heard for the intro to ‘Too High’).
Everything sounds great; there’s a very nice production and mix to be heard here. And Dorja have brought their compositions to life with a lot of evident passion and some fine performances. A mightily impressive debut, these ladies deserve to go far.
Review by Mark Holmes
21st June 2019
2) Target Practice
3) Reaching Out
5) Use You
6) Too High
9) Far Gone
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"These ladies rock it out on their own terms...They’re certainly not rocking on eleven all the way through, which is actually quite refreshing."