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Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline
Virgin Records 2000

Well, what have we here? A b-sides and rarities collection, meant to hold over the public until the next "real" album is to be releasedÖ How novel. But wait! This is no ordinary compilationÖ The term "b-sides and rarities" was not meant for an album of this scopeÖ Only 5 b-sides are actually represented here, and 3 of those are live versions, never before released, and one is a remix. Hold the phone, my good manÖ letís take a listen.

"Shitbag 9" is a funny little short, lifted from the idea of the Beatles revolution #9, of course. Is Gomez bigger than the Beatles? Maybe so, in time. "Bring Your Loviní Back Here" is classic Gomez, with the crunchiest possible Gomez guitar line, and some excellent drumming. A sure fire winner! "Emergency Surgery" was originally on the We Havenít Turned Around single, but this remix takes the song to a new level of flangey bliss. The pure blues sound of "Hit On The Head" is nicely indicative of the depth of Gomez as versatile artists, paying homage to their roots. "Flavors" is a semi-jazz piece, full of extraneous keyboards and interesting rhythm parts. "Flavors" is also full of some of the nicest Gomez vocals of all time. Next, Gomez has once again proven their ability as musicians by taking one of their classic singles, and turning it to a swing piece. "78 Stone Shuffle" is a beautiful interpretation of one of their finest, with a much more understandable vocal presence than on the original "78 Stone Wobble". The powerful tremelo guitar is absent, but is certainly not missed in the sound. "We Havenít Turned Around (x-ray version)" is from part 2 of the UK single of the same name. It is a nicely reworked version of this single, and definitely worth having. "Buena Vista" takes the joy of the delay pedal to new heights, with a huge wallop of said effect ruling over the entirety of the song. Guitars intertwine, creating a timing masterpiece with a slightly jazzy-drag feel. Slightly longer than itís counterpart, "Shitbag" is a quick jaunt into the world of bad cars and country girls. It almost seems an outtake from Primal Screams "Screamadelica". A BBC version of "Steve McCroski", originally on the 78 Stone Wobble e.p., builds itself on droning lo-fi loops and tingly mandolin notes. "Wharf Me" is a dreamily beautiful song, full of haunting keyboards and guitars. It floats along like a best friend on a warm summerís day. Another short outtake, "High On Liquid Skin" has a certain minimalist quality to it, relying on strings and a pretty acoustic guitar line to carry it along. "Rosemary", originally on the We Havenít Turned Around singles, is presented here in an even darker, slower form. Itís a beautiful song, and an even more beautiful version of that song. Haunting and ephemeral, with some fantastic dynamics, this version showcases the depth of Gomez live. "The Cowboy Song", from the Get Myself Arrested single, is represented here, complete with super-cheesy oompah keys, and is a nice look at some of the early work of this fantastic band. Rounding out the album is the version of "Getting Better" that was recently featured on some sort of television commercial Ė I canít remember for what. Itís a wonderful song, done in a wonderful way, by a bunch of wonderfully talented young man.

In short, this collection is essential for all fans of Gomez, even those who have collected all the UK singles, as well as those formerly uninitiated to the band. Encompassing a bit of work from each phase of this bandís four year career, "Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline" presents a relative timeline along a journey of musical discovery. It is hard to deny the musical prowess of this band, and the possible effects that they may have on the music scene over the next few years. This album will surely be on many Best of 2000 lists, and I would certainly not rule them out as contenders for the Beatlesí crown.

ĖDavid DeVoe

Track Listing

  1. Shitbag 9
  2. Bring Your Loviní Back Here
  3. Emergency Surgery (remix)
  4. Hit On The Head
  5. Flavors
  6. 78 Stone Shuffle (BBC Live Session)
  7. We Havenít Turned Around (X-Ray version)
  8. Buena Vista
  9. Shitbag
  10. Steve McCroski (BBC Live session)
  11. Wharf Me
  12. High On Liquid Skin
  13. Rosemary (BBC Live session)
  14. The Cowboy Song
  15. Getting Better

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