Nightswellspent and Mikey Gems – “Penthouse Music” an irresistible slice of ear-candy

The album “Penthouse Music” serves as journal on how this collection of songs came to fruition after Bronx NYC artists, Nightswellspent and Mikey Gems spent some time living in a Penthouse on the top floor in South Seaport, on a visit to Boston, where Nightswellspent had translocated to previously. The two would throw parties at night, and whatever happened during the key moments of that night, would become their inspiration in the studio, the next day.  The finished songs where then sneaked onto the playlists of the following night’s party, where the artists could observe reactions to their creations. This scheme became the routine for their entire stay at the Penthouse. Hence the emphatic album title.

As you would expect from an album entitled “Penthouse Music”, the sound is smooth, sensual and hypnotically persuasive, dripping with soulful crooning and stiletto sharp rhymes. Nightswellspent and Mikey Gems free-associates over spacey sonic ephemera – keys here, lush reverb there – alongside the psychic power of beating drums and rumbling basslines.

“Penthouse”, which features swirling synths and atomic vocals multiplying into soulful, silky hooks, and thick percussive stabs, is an ode to a lover’s session. “I Promise” is a vibrant slow-burning banger built around rolling polyrhythms and atmospheric pads. The track puts Nightswellspent and Mikey Gems stunning voices on full display. Everything about the song plays up to the singers’ strengths, within a template of intoxicating R&B.

 “Open Your Eyes” has a darker, more urgent aesthetic – a sense of momentum and propulsion, with a sort of infectious charisma and atmosphere that can make up for a lot. “You need a nigga like me, baby, in your life,” recites the lyric. “Take a chance with me, baby, I could treat you right.” All of the things that Nightswellspent and Mikey Gems typically do, they execute superbly here.

“Only Yours” opens with an ambient piano and powerful vocal. Nightswellspent and Mikey Gems join the lineage of artists who are at their best when they straddle the line between the honestly truthful and the salaciously sinful. Here they belong to the former group, who profess true love and loyalty. The two artists showcase a lot of incredible qualities here – world-class singers, and skilled songwriters, among them.

“Last Night Freestyle” is an irresistible slice of rapping ear-candy, soaked in a thumping beat and skittering hi-hats. The voices are sharp and pointed, effortlessly crafting melodies from thin air. “Penthouse Music” is a powerful, searing statement, from two artists who have has swagger, sparkle and spirit in common. They both have the ability, whether through dynamics, range or sheer intensity, to make whatever they’re singing to feel both comfortable and transgressive.

Nightswellspent and Mikey Gems are also able to harness their obvious magnetism, and then let loose when the moment calls for it, adding an injection of character and spine chilling thrills to the album. The 5 tracks on “Penthouse Music” are impressively gorgeous individually, and ravishingly hypnotic, collectively.


Instagram (Nightswellspent): @nightswellspent
Instagram (Mikey Gems: @mikeygems

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