Who Goes There
Gomez is a band whose trajectory has been somewhat downwards since they exploded onto the scene with Bring It On in 1998. Although the music has been reliably great since then, each release has had less attention. 2006's How We Operate was a lovely return to the form of their early work. Ian Ball was/ is one of the three songwriters in Gomez, and somewhat surprisingly he's the first to come out with a solo release. He's the quietest of Gomez' singers, and this is a quiet disc - gentle, lilting songs, whose lyrics are a whole lot darker than they sound. Not surprisingly, Who Goes There sounds a lot like Gomez in their quieter moments - far from their original home in Derbyshire, this album was recorded with 12 musicians in Ball's adopted home of LA, replicating the sound of his first band.
Ballads predominate, with slight acoustic pieces gently spun. The title track is an overlong 10 minute oddity, whereas Your Move is a lovely Steely Dan-like affair. Generally, it is the shorter songs that work best - The Elephant Pharmacy, Automatic Message. There are a lot of reasons that an album full of Ball songs is a nice addition to the Gomez canon, but it's not a substitute for the main act.
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