Review of the new Gomez album A New Tide.
Gomez have a new album out called A New Tide, and depending if you've stuck with them since their Mercury Music prize winning days of Bring It On in 1998 or your ears wandered off to pastures new, this may or may not be a surprise. For those who found pastures new I'll quickly fill you in; they've released six albums, with their fourth album Split the Difference in May 2004 produced by Tchad Blake who has worked with Tom Waits and Pearl Jam. A move over the pond to Los Angeles and performances at festivals such as Coachella and SxSW, and they've even had Label issues finding them at a new home on Eat Sleep.
A New Tide is distinctively Gomez if you've stuck with them or not. They have rousing melodies, little electronic tit bits, earthy country sound with a dash of Crosby Stills Nash and Young mysticism. All those elements come together on Little Pieces. Paul Blackburn's bass runs stand prominent on If You Ask Nicely and Sunset Gates. The quirky psychedelic synth sounds with Jazz drums and pop orientated la's also haven't disappeared from Gomez's arsenal it's just a shame that Gomez don't delve into the bizarre enough, pushing their music a little further from their comfort zone of sensible mid road acoustic indie pop. Lost Track and Natural Reaction have a slight Ryan Adams feel to them, interesting rhythms, big country sound guitars and shuffle along drums. The country element of Gomez seems to have been developed and nurtured but they also seem to have kept the choral 80's soft focus vocals. Win Park Slope has a definite early 90's sound to it similar to a more developed Everything But The Girl but also hasn't lost a blue grass slide guitar.
Finger picking is definitely something that creeps up on a guitarist, and Bone Tired has an abundance of it, all chirpy and light set against the strange echo of Ian's vocals, which sound a lot more cask matured and rightly so given he's much older now. I'm not saying they've gone completely pipe and slippers Airstream Driver shows us that they can still rock out with their cocks out, full throttle guitar riffs and energetic drumming its just the only track on the album that does.
Little Pieces has an introduction that sounds exactly the same as Heart Beat by Jose Gonzalez then starts to sound like something by Tortoise or Belle and Sebastian. Which I couldn't find out if this was an intentional covering or just a coincidence. It works in the song and I kinda wish I knew which one it was, an intentional covering and it's a nice reworking of the guitar part of Heart Beat, if its not then it makes me feel a little sad that it's so openly a sound alike. That said there are some lazy bits to this album like Mix, a few tired bridges that sound like an amalgamation of a lot of others out there. I couldn't help thinking that parts of their tracks could have been written by Oasis and that can't be a good thing? Mix as the opening track is perhaps an unfair scene setter for what follows as there are some gems on here. I particularly like If You Ask Nicer, which is poppy and bouncy with charm, Bone Tired is also a highlight for its sensitive and delicate emotive quality, with beautiful instrumental parts but there's none of the genius like we had on Bring It On, nothing comparable to Tijuana Lady or as rambunctious as Whippin' Piccadilly. They do play nicely with dynamics like they always have done it's just a shame that some of the drama that Gomez use, which we found inspiring back in the day, I was a teenage fan, has now become the bread and butter stock of third generation Indie which is quite frankly, gash to a now enlightened music lover. So it's hard to listen to this album with fresh ears. I'm more reminiscent of the good ole days from Gomez to when I perhaps wasn't as musically aware or educated as I feel now. Gomez just aren't the only ones about doing this sort of thing anymore, but none the less unlike the others, Gomez have more than a decade of doing it behind them and they still do it well. It's worth a listen if you like Bring It On, I imagine you'd be interested to see how they have matured but I also feel that this album could if you're like me, a fan in the 90's, could also show you how you have matured too.
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