Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Wonderful B-sides and rarities from indie rockers Gomez

I have written up British indie rockers Gomez before.  I’ve been a fan for a long time and whenever they release a new album, I’m in line to get a copy. Somehow, I missed their release of “Five Men in a Hut (A’s, B’s and Rarities: 1998 – 2004)” in 2006. I was geeked when I saw it because it is a double disc with 36 tracks. Bound to be some good music on it.

It's like champagne for monkeys.

As the title suggests, “Five Men…” is a collection of alternate takes and obscure songs that weren’t on their LP releases. Gomez has always been a band that likes to range around and experiment with different ideas musically, though they have a central sound that is unmistakable. On this collection, however, we get to hear them ranging ever farther afield, using instruments I have never heard them use before and stretching themselves, as they like to do. Some of the alternate takes are indistinguishable from the familiar released versions. But a lot of the new songs are so strong I was surprised they had never seen the light of day until now.

If you’ve never listened to Gomez, start with something else. If, however, you’re already a fan, I can recommend you pick this one up. I ripped 12 songs off this double disc, but I will recommend my favorite 8 here.

  • Best in the Town – This heartfelt ballad features Ben Ottewell’s raspy, expressive voice, ringing acoustic guitar, and lush percussion.
  • Tanglin’ – You don’t often hear Gomez flash steel guitar and harmonica, but they’ve got them both going on this catchy, up-tempo song.
  • Champagne for Monkeys – The funky beat heavy verses give way to a spacey chorus. This is such a high-quality song I think it must be a new song made for this release rather than a previously unreleased track that never made the cut.
  • Step Inside – Everybody plays way back on this track, giving it an oozy, relaxed feel. There’s even a little turntablism in the background. I like this track a lot.
  • Air-Hostess Song – Something about the vocal work in this one sounds like it could have come out of the “Liquid Skin” sessions.
  • Silhouettes – The melody is simple, but the  background instruments – particularly the guitar – is strong and interesting.
  • Chicken Bones – The flute in the intro makes you think of jazz, but the horns and percussion quicklygive this one a Mexican feel. I’ve never heard Gomez do a song like it.
  • Pick Up the Pieces – This is a friendly little pop song until about 2 minutes in when it becomes this really intense psychedelic jam.

I’ve seen Gomez live a couple times and if you get the chance you should check out the show. They are tight and fearless live.



May 12, 2010 - Posted by | Alternative, Indie, Popular, Rock

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