A New Tide, the latest album from UK Indie band Gomez, comes at you with all the freshness of its title. Crashing on this particular beach we have splashes of psychedelia, a tinge of blues, country rock, and roller coaster waves containing a typical mixture of elements.
It is this diversity that led to their brilliant 1998 debut, Bring It On, winning the Mercury Prize. The only thing left to surprise us about the collective talent within Gomez is that, despite their bright start, and some equally impressive albums over the years, they seemed to have just slipped off the radar of late.
They remain a band that many expect great things from, however, but such a self built pedigree can often be a heavy weight to carry. Having said that, they are back and on the evidence of A New Tide the geographical distances that now separate the lads from Southport has had little, if any, effect at all.
With this album, Gomez happily brush aside some of the uncertainty regarding their continuing relevance and serve up a rich tapestry that includes some trademark experimental moments. In doing so, they underline just why their music can be so invigorating.
Blandness is a word that isn’t allowed breathing space in any Gomez studio. You simply cannot double guess what is coming next.
They have never towed a predictable path and have instead followed their bravely diverse instincts. These instincts are clearly still working as well as ever and their breadth of material often intrigues. This makes any Gomez album an adventure, a fairground ride through everything from the tunnel of love, to a wild roller coaster, and just about everything in between.
Sure, the old country rock roots influence is alive and well and this is to the fore from the off. “Mix”, written by Ian Ball, is an excellent start, a difficult track to progress beyond and instantly demands several plays. This is the essence of Gomez captured in one track. A simple folk acoustic strum gives way to a psychedelic wah, which in turn builds ‘grungingly’ higher. It’s unpredictable, interesting, and compellingly them.
“Little Pieces”, written by Ben Ottewell, smoothly follows with a nicely picked opening which again builds towards a memorable chorus. “If I Ask You Nicely” is the first, and last, writing contribution from Tom Gray. It breezes through with an eccentrically catchy vibe.