I have always held that there is a strange sort of medicine found
in great music. When your day is going poorly, you can put the needle
down on a favorite record and the waves in the air assuage a bit of
the pain, or intensify it, depending on what your soul needs. When
having a really, really, really bad day it is always a nice thing
to sit on the couch and let a Gomez record play. Gomez heals.
The latest record from Gomez is titled A New Tide, and this
title is somewhat apt for the sound of the songs. Drawing deeply from
the well of creativity that Gomez has always possessed, but imbuing
the songs with a new sound and vitality is what this record is all
about. Ian Ball's recent solo record seems to have refreshed
his vision of what Gomez should be and the band sounds happy for that
freshness. While there is still that undeniable hippie-ish-ness that
has come to plague the band, there is more a return to a pure pop
form that has been somewhat buried on their last records. Musical
and sound experimentation is definitely back, just listen for the
cool organs and bells on "If I Ask You Nicely" for a quick
taste. The sound of A New Tide is overwhelmingly lighter than
on previous records, as well, lending a perfect summertime vibe to
the album as a whole. Lots of little 1960's style flourishes appear
here and there, poppy organs, jangling guitars, and on the coolly
produced "Airstream Driver" the band is in top form. This
track holds all the promise and beauty that is Gomez; innately singable
melody, rhythmic counterpoints and delicate interplay, soft guitars
blending with edgy guitars over fuzzy guitars, vibey keyboard flourishes,
and a solid underpinning of bass guitar. This song is a perfect example
of the reason that Gomez still, after all these years, matters more
than just about any other band
ever. "Lost Track"
is a softly-played acoustic track with wonderful harmony vocals and
lithesome sounds that caress the soul before the cello and drums kick
in to get the song some meaty tension. "Natural Reaction"
is a piano-lovers dream, as the sound of acoustic piano stirs the
pot before adding the spice of Ben Ottewell's incredible voice
and some rolling drumbeats and acoustic instruments, lending the track
an almost bluegrassy feel. For a taste of that inimitable Gomez psychedelia
and experimentation, give a listen to album closer "Sunset Gates",
with its droning keyboard lines, eerie sound effects, softly strummed
acoustic guitars, and throttling drum-chorus.
So whether or not you need to escape the doldrums or the bane of
a bad day, or simply want to listen to music that is sure to lift
your spirit and make the world shine, A New Tide is a perfect
album to begin your summer. The songs are cheery, the music complex
yet inviting, and the overall feel is that same instantly comfortable
sound that Gomez has always possessed. Love Gomez. Let the healing
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