But it's not just the booze that makes rooms spin for these boys; it's also the women, and it remains to be seen which is more habit-forming -- and destructive. Either way, the drama of both is painted in broad strokes across this record. A "Slow Recovery" is all about the damnation of desire as it settles into a curled-lip, Spy Hunter-groove. "J.H.-S" is just as mean, with Gillard singing with the disaffected cool of the late Mark Sandman, while his guitar loses the composure he so duly maintains.
Mule kicks aside, Gem is just as capable of being sublime as sauced. This is made evident by the ambrosial "A Slow Crawl" and the bipolar "Nothing but the Quiet Now." Still, there can be no doubt that these guys are happiest making hips shake as violently as their hands.