No, Gomez is not the character from "The Addams Family," although this five-piece from London does epitomize the television series' odd and quirky ethos. Liquid Skin is the more refined follow-up to the much-acclaimed debut, Bring It On. Liquid rocks, it rolls and gets downright dirty in a bluesy, Hendrix way. Sometimes. Usually, the members of Gomez are off on some sonic or rhythmic tangent, jamming down into a vortex of streaming psychedelic guitar lines, country-rock rhythms, unexpected vocoders and programmed beats. Add in Gomez's de rigueur careful production experimentation, delightful harmonizing and ultra-solid songwriting skills, and these Brits won't let you down. In fact, the songs on Liquid Skin are uplifting in a paradoxically honest, melancholy way.
Drawing from myriad genres and eras, and reminiscent of the rawness of Nirvana Unplugged and Tom Waits, and the experimentalism of Verve's A Storm in Heaven, the Gomez boys aspire to be nothing other than what they are — gifted songwriters bending the songwriting standard of verse-chorus-verse — again. Stand-out tracks include the guitar-gritty, jazzy "Blue Moon Rising" and the 7 1/2-minute groove-driven "California," which recalls fellow eclectic Brits the Beta Band's second EP. "Devil Will Ride," the album's climatic finish, begins with slow and stylized guitar and rhythm, crashes into a brief ode to distorted guitar rock, cuts into vocoder-effected vocals, slips into a toe-tapping section which leads into a triumphant stream of trippy guitar and dreampop vocals. Then Gomez repeats this progression with a slight variation, building to a sudden break into horns, handclaps and a gospellike chorus. This well-woven eclecticism is at the core of the Gomez experience.
Crucial throughout all these songs is the interplay between Ben Ottewell's powerful, nicotine-dredged vocals and the silky smoothness of Tom Gray and Ian Ball's singing.
If Gomez were a map of premillennial music trends, it would be the trip and not the destination that matters. Definitely a revolutionary kind of trip, at that.
A.J. Duric writes about music for the Metro Times. E-Mail [email protected].
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