Review : Gomez - A New Tide
PastemagazinAfter winning the Mercury Music Prize in 1998 for its debut, Gomez has gradually had more success in the U.S. with each progressive album, even as the band’s critical and commercial cachet back home in England has eroded. Both trends can probably be blamed on a smoothing out of rough edges, causing early fans—who flocked to the fuzzy guitars, growling vocals and Waits-ian sound collages—to wince at the more conventional pop/rock of recent albums. While the mostly mid-tempo, mostly acoustic continues the trajectory from college rock to radio-ready adult alternative, Gomez has yet to succumb to anything resembling blandness. The album’s best songs are its most experimental, which will continue to frustrate those who want these Southport boys to more frequently embrace the strange. “If I Ask You Nicely” begins with double bass and snaps before high-pitched organ veers the song into left field. “Win Park Slope” is all slide blues and muffled darkness. And the fuzz returns on “Airstream Driver,” a quirky, catchy song that should thrill Gomez fans old and new....full text
PopmattersI truly wish it were possible to write about a Gomez album without falling back on mentions of the British band’s obvious debt to American roots, blues, and R&B music. The influence is undeniable, but it always feels like an undervaluing of the breadth of Gomez’s artistry to have to say so. The band’s peculiar level of popular awareness perhaps mandates it; far from ubiquitous, but certainly not obscure, Gomez is a band that has to be gingerly reintroduced by reviewers with every album. Still, a term as limited as “blues-rock” falls woefully short of expressing the subtle impact of their music. The problem is finding a term that does.
Gomez valiantly defies terminology. This tends to lead to an unfortunate preponderance of synonyms for “mix” in reviews of their albums, since any artist that doesn’t seem to fit into a single genre must be mixing them. If they wanted to discourage this, they could find better ways to do it than beginning their latest release on ATO, A New Tide, with a song called “Mix”. That it’s a remarkable sonic mélange that sums up Gomez’s aesthetic beautifully does help a bit: opening with a haunting folk-strum and Ian Ball’s inimitable warble, it picks up Olly Peacock’s adamant snare-beat and some wah-inflected cow-funk guitar as it progresses before bursting out into a grungy rave-out. “We mix together”, Ball eventually lets out over jazzy ride-cymbals, reclaiming the overused verb for his own purposes....full text
Billboarden years after scoring the Mercury Prize for its debut, "Bring It On," and three years after its 2006 breakout, "How We Operate," Gomez ups the musical ante with "A New Tide," a brilliant 11-song collection of lyrical jewels embellished by colorful and unusual textural arrangements that a dynamics-loving jazz band could admire. With its sixth and most mature studio outing, the five-piece rock ensemble crafts fetching melodies that serve as the terra firma for confident shape-shifting explorations. Cases in point: "Mix" blends an acoustic-guitar-strummed simplicity with electronic slurs of psychedelia; "Win Park Slope" opens with a Delta-blues twang that transforms into pockets of cello-viola classical sway and a rock-fused chorus; "Natural Reaction" bolts from straight-up song into fluctuating tempo and key; "Other Plans" develops as a suite with a wheeze organ hue; and "Sunset" closes the album with a freaky avant swirl of clarinets and alto saxophone. —Dan Ouellette...full text
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