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Bask In The Duality Of 'Gemini Reign' By Smooth Retsina Glow

Smooth Retsina Glow continues their upward trajectory with their latest album, 'Gemini Reign.'

Making waves and carrying an unbeatable momentum, the sweet sounds of indie rock, shoegaze, and dream pop, have taken them to new heights with each release they put forth.

The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based artists have been gigging hard in 2023 with a myriad of shows performed thus far, and as their undeniable work ethic has proven - there are no signs of stopping.

Releasing their 4th studio album, 'Gemini Reign,' this past June with a single to expedite the band, this year has been nothing short of highlights for Smooth Retsina Glow.

It's impossible not to get roped into 'Gemini Reign immediately as you click play on the introductory single, "Turn to Hubris." There's a mesmerizing ease that has you tapping your fingers and toes to the beat as you feel your worries wash away with Colin Wolf's croons transporting you. The feel-good guitar strums and timely percussion lull you into a head-bopping frenzy as you feast on the grit and authenticity Smooth Retsina Glow instills as a welcome message for what's to come.

"Overcoming" greets us with a slowed-down tempo and the radiant Sarah Stoll's velvety vocals, which wrap us up in the dreamy ambiance that Smooth Retsina Glow offers. We love the versatility professed, and this peaceful approach spreads a soothing atmosphere over what we can expect through the album through the variety of electric and acoustic riffs, which touch on the personality traits of a Gemini.

Showing off their many sides, the funk-influenced record "Bound by Desire" is the lead single off their album. Lush chords, a groovy tempo, and the duality of the vocal textures make this a fun track to jam to. Written by the band's guitarist and co-vocalist Colin Wolf, the single has earned them a second consecutive number one in Australia's Bank City Radio and Radioplay in Japan, the UK, Canada, and a slew of radio stations in The United States.

Dipping into the melancholy and thought-provoking "All Your Past Times," nostalgia rushes us as we take this record in. The down-tempo ambiance whisks us into a pool of memories as we relic in the lyrical motifs conveyed. Artistic and meaningful, a beauty is etched into the songwriting of Smooth Retsina Glow that allows their words to live larger than life.

We experience that throughout the album, but some songs hit differently depending on your state of mind - which the band masters effortlessly. "Backsliding" is another one of those songs that pulls you into a rabbit hole of melodic fusion, all while praying on your current dynamic state. Being the most eclectic song on the album, there's much to become fascinated with as you take in the production. A perfect concoction of melodic elements in the foreground and background shows Smooth Retsina Glow won't hold back in their expression.

It's wild to us how a band can seamlessly take you into two varying moods in such a swift and cohesive motion. Going from track five to six, we're now excited and once again revisiting the grunge-like, amplified sound of boisterous energy they portray so well. "Short Handed" has us tapping into the edgy and carefree sides we want to let loose a little more. Encouraging that with an unapologetic persona and sizzling riffs, this song makes us feel like a bar fight is about to break out, and we're standing by with the popcorn.

Taking in the back half of 'Gemini Reign, ' it's easy to see the complete structure that the band places in the tracklist. Now, swimming into the dreamy, pop sound of "She Won't Be Home," we're picking up hues of the early 2000s as Sarah Stoll channels a No Doubt meets Lily Allen-type vibe we're living for. Accompanied by instrumentation that allows her to flutter her dreamy vocals, everything in this record meshes with serendipity.

Touring us into the free-falling, classic rock energy from "Obfuscate," who knew the ebb and flow of dream-pop to dad rock would have us this invested? But this isn't just any cookie-cutter song that fits into this description. "Obfuscate" gives us emotion and story in extremes through heartfelt lyrics that make their audience think over the instrumental fills. A desired concoction of pure musical balance. That is just what we aim for in great songwriting. Gently easing us into the remaining two records, every song has its appropriate place, and we're here for it all.

Nothing sits better in our souls than the twang of a sparse guitar riff and delicate cymbals chiming in for the spotlight. Fitting the song's title, "Eternal Now," you get exactly what you think you would from this persuasively luscious track. Providing us with an emotion-fueled guitar solo like no other, there's something special about how "Eternal Now" is executed. You feel it amp in intensity, all while keeping the relaxed and laid-back zeal intended. Who else can do that but Smooth Retsina Glow?

We've felt almost every emotion while taking in this album, and as we reach the last record and title track of the album, 'Gemini Reign,' we're offered up everything we may not have felt through the previous nine songs. There's a whirlwind of energy upon us, and for the final 7 minutes, we're graciously given a leave-it-all-on-the-table moment full of fills, solos, and abstract lyrics that will have you hanging on to the edge of your seat.

Unraveling the organized chaos that's sonically dissected throughout these ten records, you'll be happy you checked out 'Gemini Reign' for yourself.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Smooth Retsina Glow! We're stoked your fourth studio album is out into the world to hear. What is the inspiration placed into this collection of songs on 'Gemini Reign?'

The inspiration comes from all the diverse listening interests of the group- anything from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Avenged Sevenfold, Lemon Twigs, Tool, Steely Dan, Spafford, King Gizzard, Plini, Turnstile, Madison Cunningham, and Soundgarden can be detected in our songs- but put together in our unique way, and this is undoubtedly a byproduct of our members all having different music tastes- but we are all able to accommodate each others preferences and gives us our character as an original act.

Compared to your other albums, what sets 'Gemini Reign' apart from the rest?

It's essentially the first time we, as a band, have achieved a sound that is of our creation - by that- we have been able to take all these elements from these artists and absorb it in a way that makes it cohesive, listenable, and challenging in the proper sense of the word. We are an alt-rock group with certain progressive overtones musically, and it has set the standard for which to follow. Our first record in 2019 was much more of a folk-rock record; our second in 21 saw that sound morph somewhat, although that was a bit too diverse for its good, and the third nearly got there- but it wasn't quite "our sound" yet.

With Gemini Reign, we are confident we have our identity for the foreseeable future. Another aspect that differs is the aspect we were able to record all the tracks live, which gives it a feel that the records before didn't have ( the first and second, namely, the third, almost entirely done live). As a group, we were able to arrange our songs- written by our guitarist/ frontman Colin Wolf with increasing maturity. Each piece was diligently prepared and mapped out, and there was good energy in this lineup at the time that made the record.

We picked up on such intentional placement from the tracklist. What was your motive for laying it out this way, and what type of journey do you aim to give your audience?

Sequencing is a bit of a lost art, especially in modern music- with all the options afforded to us by downloading and being able to buy one track or however many it is you want- occasionally, the art of sequencing has fallen by the wayside- but many of the albums that have inspired us over the years have very creative and imaginative ways of sequencing an album that gives it the perfect mixture of contrasts- you'll find this, especially in classic acts like Led Zeppelin, Queen, King Crimson, Beach boys, and The Beatles.

A lot of the other influences listed earlier also make good use of sequencing. Our music utilizes different keys, time signatures, and harmonic progression in our writing- and having those elements enable us to achieve a wide range of sonic potential. This record progresses logically and takes the ear on a 45-minute adventure that leaves you wanting more.

Does each band member have a favorite song? Which track is it, and what's the reasoning behind the choice?

Here are our favorites.

Colin Wolf: Bound By Desire- after our first single's Overcoming success, it continued our trajectory upward, earning another Bank Radio Australia number 1 song of the week (the first time we achieved a consecutive number 1 on that station), and it was vital for me because I sang it in addition to writing it!

Brian Derckas: Gemini Reign- the pseudo metal characteristic and odd time signature ( 7/8)

Jacob Wolfe: Turn to Hubris: for its fuzzed characteristics and dreamy psychedelia, including a backward solo and the swirly sounds that underpin it.

With 2023 being such a busy year for you, what do you enjoy the most about the downtime you've been given? What else in 2023 are you excited about what's coming up?

As much as we enjoy performing at the level we do, a few evenings off are always a welcome recharge for everyone to hang out and get involved in our hobbies- which are as important as practicing- and it also gives us time away from each other. We work and play hard, which makes the downtime early in the week well-earned, so we appreciate those weeks we may not gig 6 or 5 times. The other aspect of timing away from music is a break from each other- while we all have good interpersonal relationships with each other, it's not like we're going to go hang out on off evenings to watch sports or go on a hike- time away is important for our recharging.

Musicians' relationships are different from normal relationships- you need to have the right balance- but you also need time away from each other- because sometimes, too often, familiarity breeds contempt. We have about 60 more shows for the remainder of this year, and the big date to save is Saturday, August 12th, at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pa- on Main Street Stage from 6.00 to 8.30, where you can expect mostly originals, but also a few covers as well. And every show is something we look forward to and give an infinite amount of enthusiasm to. Also- you can expect we will start laying down more songs in a month or so because we always got to keep pushing ahead of the game!


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