The D.C. duo GEMS work in the same spare, sensuous palette as The xx, though with a richer R&B aesthetic and a clear affinity for the groundbreaking, ethereal music of The Cocteau Twins. That said, GEMS exude an ineffable coolness and an inarguable uniqueness—which isn't surprising when you really examine their recipe. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Lindsay Pitts and multi-instrumentalist Clifford Usher push and pull, come together, and fall apart as cascading, lone guitar notes, glistening tendrils of keyboards, and beads of percussion surround them. Your earbuds might melt when you hear Usher croon, in a woodsy bass, “If you cry out, I’ll be there now” in answer to Pitts’ sad lament, “Time got away from me” on the splendid “Medusa.” Just as seductive is “Pegasus,” where her winsome longing is met with regrettable resistance: “I’ve given all I can/It’s not enough,” he offers, though the truth seems more complicated. A wondrous debut that tantalizes.