CD Review of A New Tide by Gomez
Gomez: A New Tide
Recommended if you like
Dave Matthews Band,
My Morning Jacket,
Johnathan Rice
Gomez: A New Tide

Reviewed by Mike Farley


t’s really difficult to categorize or compare the music of British rock band Gomez, because there are so many influences at work and two very distinct songwriting styles brought to the table by front men Ian Ball and Ben Ottewell. And while this is a band that drew critical praise for their early efforts, which were more experimental, they really opened up their sound and their audience with 2006’s How We Operate, which spawned several singles from TV shows like "Grey’s Anatomy" and "House M.D." But that, and specifically Gomez’ newfound accessibility, was then. This, their latest album A New Tide, is now, and it’s a collective reach back to the band’s early days. In other words, it’s not really a new tide, but an old one, and if you just caught on to Gomez the last few years, you are no doubt going to be a tad disappointed. The rest of you who have been with Gomez since the beginning are likely going to love this effort.

Ball’s "Mix" kicks things off and the fact that this earthy, dark, vibey song is the opening track gives you an indication of what’s to come. Another hypnotic Ball-driven track, "Winter Park Slope," is also dark and brooding and strangely addictive, as is the poppy yet psychedelic-tinged "Airstream Driver." As for Ottewell, who has the more recognizable voice of the two singers, there are some dissonant melodies, but he manages to tie things together with huge lift in his choruses, as he does on "Little Pieces," "Natural Reaction" and "Very Strange." Ottewell also shows a softer side on the mostly acoustic and powerful "Bone Tired," a good example of the band’s experimentation with loops and counter-melodies.


With a lot of A New Tide recorded in different parts of the world at different times by the various members of Gomez, who are scattered around the globe now, it should be no surprise that the album is a bit eclectic, if not overly experimental. So if you were looking forward to this new Gomez record with the anticipation of a kid the day before Christmas, you might take a deep breath and temper your expectations a bit. That doesn’t mean A New Tide is bad, and that doesn’t mean it won’t grow on you, but it seems like after the mainstream success of How We Operate, there wasn’t anywhere to go but down a notch or two.

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