Album review: DORJA – Gemini

DORJA - Gemini

Dakini Records [Release date 21.06.19]

Having recently reviewed JoanovArc’s sophomore album here at GRTR! it’s interesting to note that Dorja – another new, all female rock band – shared the stage with them in February.

Also based in London, Dorja – a multi-cultural five piece – Aiym Almas (vocals), Rosie Botterill and Sarah Michelle (guitars), Becky Baldwin (bass), and Anna Mylee (drums) – hail from, and are spread as far afield as the States, England, Ireland, Belgium and Kazakhstan.

Like JoanovArc, the band are hewn from the same classic 70′s & 80′s rock roots – bands likes of  Zep, and Guns ‘N Roses, whilst tapping into the current garage rock scene.  In other words (or actually, the band’s own) a modus operandi of ‘a heavy guitar riffs base, with really melodic vocals at the top’.

But unlike JoanovArc they steer clear of any pop/crossover ground, sticking to a fairly hard rock format.  There’s a controlled ‘tease’ to proceedings, a rarity in these ‘wham bam, thank you ma’am’ days.  Almas’ vocals ooze sensuality, there’s some splendidly loose guitar playing with plenty of ‘feel’, Mylee’s drums punctuate proceedings to particularly good effect, and Baldwin’s bass is well up in the mix.

Song-wise, it’s a solid, rather than spectacular set, with four of the 10 tracks having appeared previously – the band’s debut single Fire, and three tracks off the follow up Target Practice EP.  So, no need to chase down back catalogue material, with highlights including the broody menace of the aforementioned ‘Target Practice’, and the provocative ‘Reaching Out’.

Curiously, ‘image’ isn’t an aspect Dorja have chosen to exploit, with fairly plain outer sleeve artwork that’s unlikely to attract passing ‘record shop’ attention.  But forget about the ‘all female’ tag, Gemini is highly promising, uncompromising, debut.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley


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