Gomez - A New Tide
I don’t know how to describe this album. In many ways it is perfectly analogous with televised snooker, no, hear me out. You know how you sometimes end up sat idly in front of the television and scroll through the channels seeking inspiration and then suddenly you alight upon the snooker. Now, you are no big fan of snooker but, hey, there’s nothing else happening tonight and this frame could go either way. Before you know it you’ve sat through the live show and the ensuing highlights; even Hazel Irvine is showing signs of flagging but you’ve hung on in there until the bitter end. Now, you’ve had a perfectly pleasant time and enjoyed every minute of it but, let's face it, there’s no way in hell you are going to go out of your way to ever watch the snooker again - but if you maybe catch it by chance next year then you'll surely welcome it back like a favourite pair of underpants.
That, my friends, is what this Gomez album is like. Musically it ticks all the boxes, you can’t fault the inventive instrumentation, the arrangement, production or performance and I’ll quite happily sit through it from start to finish, but I guarantee you that, having penned this review, I will never seek to hear it again. I don’t know why it should be so, maybe the fact that it was largely written and recorded by two individuals on opposite sides of the Atlantic has some bearing on the lack of engagement I feel with it? Can you really put together an album in the same way as you’d study for a Carpentry HND with the Open University? Personally I think it is a fairly bizarre conceit to even attempt it, but I guess the demise of Concorde had to eventually take its toll somewhere.
It isn’t a bad album in any respect, it just fails to provide any hook to really engage me as a potential fan although I’m confident that existing fans of the band will be more than happy with this offering. Musically it is fairly eclectic and can seamlessly flit between dropped tuning acoustic folk, Eddie Vedder tinged rock and even Depeche Mode influenced pop. Best of all, however, is If I Ask You Nicely which starts off a bit like Simon & Garfunkel attempting The Fall’s Hey Luciani and spirals off into a classic 3 minute pop ’45. Very Strange is another highlight and sees the band out-Vedder Pearl Jam without resorting to the expected tedious guitar solos. Look, if you are a Gomez fan then just get out there and buy this record. For the casual listener then maybe there’s reason to pause for thought and ask yourself, what would John Virgo do?