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Gomez
A New Tide
ATO Records
www.gomeztheband.com


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. Gomez loves.

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 begin.

-Embo Blake

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Mike Doughty



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