Breakers, Gem Club's debut full length, is an album that gently lays you down and wraps you in its melancholic shroud for its duration, making it feel like you're in slow motion and the world is flying by too fast. Listen to this on a train and you're starring in the third act of your own art-house film, it's that emotionally evocative. Which is why you will either love it or resist its power, depending on your willingness to go with it. Given the dream-pop label in some quarters, I can state clearly that this bears no resemblance to the washed out dullness of much in that genre and instead echoes, say James Blake in his less electro-moments crossed with Red House Painters, in that it is spacious and minimal, but melody led.

Despite melancholy being the first adjective that springs to mind, I feel it would be unfair as a complete description, because there are moments of euphoria here, only they're the euphoria of Frost's 'Nothing Gold Can Stay': fleeting, ephemeral and so laced with the aforementioned melancholic after-taste. At first go you'd be forgiven for thinking all the tracks sounded very similar, comprised as they are only of barely-there percussion, piano, Kristen Drymala's cello and Christopher Barnes' drowsy, interestingly enunciated vocals, but on repeated listens the intricacy of their interplay and the consciously chosen simplicity become clearer.

I've already written about the beauty of opening track 'Twins', but repeated listens haven't made it any less arresting. It seems to me a song of longing, “waiting for what comes next,” desiring more, but the denouement here never quite comes. “I want to lie still, near you, near you,” haunted my head for days, capturing so perfectly the overwhelming desire of doomed infatuation.

'Breakers', the title track, is a clever blend of light and dark sounds, from the percussive bells to the almost menacing depth of the cello, just as it is lyrically images of both close friends and skulls. For this album, this is about as upbeat as it gets, perhaps vying with the soaring cello of Red Arrows for that honour.

Other stand out moments include the low-level, unsettling distortion pulsing throughout 'Lands', imbuing the entire song with a sense of menace. While 'I Heard the Party' could take the title for least party-like track to contain the word party in its title. The imagery is more suited to a wake than a shindig, “No-one could have told you that your body would fail you.” There's nothing sadder than being sad at a party and this is the sound of outside looking in at the revellers over a gaping chasm of sorrow.

'252' is also special, full body shiver special. As with Black Ships, Leva Berberian's additional vocals create a spine-tingling, plaintive chorus in conjunction with Barnes at his least whispery. “I'm still a little nervous. I thought that you would notice,” breaks my heart with its simple sense of betrayal. Here the piano really forms the heart of the track, delicately driving the song forwards, but each element of their repertoire, vocals, cello, piano, layer over each other to a goosebump raising crescendo. This song is the closest thing to a climax you'll find here and even then it feels like the punch is pulled at the last second.

While most songwriters are anxious to draw a line between their lyrics and poetry as an art form, it would be disingenuous to describe Barnes' writing without using the term poetic, for example, “Until the spring sets in, until we can begin. And I had dreamed some that all our acts had come undone.” The lyrics are as spacious as the soundscapes, focusing on feelings over narratives and imagery over description. Again I can see how this will appeal to some and turn off others. Personally I find Barnes' writing a wonderfully refreshing break from the insult to the intelligence school of lyricism.

In short, Breakers is an album stuck in an eternal winter where “I can't feel my hands anymore,” and everything is shades of bleak dawn greys or glistening, translucent frost. It's an album of sleeping alone “filled with desire” for someone you'll never have or had and lost, of nostalgic reminiscences never again to be recaptured, of watching the sunrise from your bedroom floor after sobbing your heart out at 3am. It's certainly not an easy listen and it will have to find you at the right time in your life to be fully appreciated, because it demands of you a willingness to let go of the hope that you can fix everything and put it back to how it was. But if you can allow it to wash over your memories and say your goodbyes, then this album just might grant you a bright white clean mental slate.