Glass Candy sure have themselves a nice haunted-disco niche, but you wouldn't accuse of them being original. On 2003 debut album Love, Love, Love, the Portland, Ore. duo of Ida No and Johnny Jewel caught the no-wave wave; back then, they had a drummer named Ginger Peach. Since moving to Italians Do It Better and focusing on dark-alley Italo disco, they've released upwards of three dozen tracks spread out across 2007's occasionally great but overrated B/E/A/T/B/O/X, the same year's excellent After Dark compilation, a couple of killer 12"s, a few 7"s, and now "singles, B-sides, and rarities" disc Deep Gems. After you throw out alternate mixes, godawful skits, and a reworking of their 2005 reworking of "Iko Iko", you're left with at most 22 discrete Glass Candy songs-- only 19 originals. Even then, the quality has been mixed.
Few bands really need a rarities collection. Glass Candy aren't one of those bands. Although Deep Gems maintains the after-hours glide of Jewel's recent work for Glass Candy or labelmates Chromatics, along with No's heavy-lidded Debbie Harry purr, it underscores just how few essential tracks Glass Candy have made so far. A hypnotic melody, murky bassline, and echoey keyboard splash-pulse help make "Animal Imagination" the most interesting "rarity," but the lyrics would embarrass "Celebration of the Lizard"-era Jim Morrison, and it shows up again, in an abbreviated lo-fi version, as "Soft Boundaries". Also pleasant enough is "Geto Boys", the aforementioned "Iko" update, a worthwhile purchase for anyone clamoring to have Glass Candy revisit the Mardi Gras favorite over the Geto Boys' 1991 hip-hop classic "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" (and who hadn't already downloaded the track's widely posted free "MySpace Demo" version).
Belle Epoque cover "Miss Broadway", one of Glass Candy's best tracks alongside the 12"-only "I Always Say Yes" and B/E/A/T/B/O/X's "Rolling Down the Hill", is still decent in an unnecessarily busy, demo-ish "Ms. Broadway (Remix)" form. "Poison or Remedy" is just a cheap-sounding version of B/E/A/T/B/O/X's "Beatific". If you paid 99 cents for it on iTunes because you thought it was a new song, I'm sure Glass Candy are sorry.
Outside of its self-cannibalizing standouts, Deep Gems tends toward the sort of the sort of forgettable nu-disco synth noodlings that shouldn't make the cut for a proper album. The best of the rest: "Feeling Without Touching", with its chirpy "Da Da Da"- or "Fortress/Deer Park"-esque synth repetitions, and "The Beat's Alive", where No emits high-pitched squawks over uptempo handclaps. "Theme From Deep Gems" is a minute-and-a-half synth-orchestral piece fit for a lesser Stanley Kubrick score. Finale "Silver Fountain" is seven minutes of slow-motion keyboard drones, multi-layered percussion, and raygun noises, with No occasionally murmuring about and/or moaning about "misty mountains". Where B/E/A/T/B/O/X opened with a lame exercise-instructor skit, Deep Gems starts with the Glass Candy equivalent of a telephone error message. Glass Candy may be busy finishing up their next album, but that doesn't mean we all have to act like being put on hold is the same as having a good conversation.
— Marc Hogan, January 28, 2009