Album Review: Gomez's A New Tide

As is the Gomez custom, many of these songs start out airily, with a few verses delivered over lilting acoustic guitar arpeggios, which then give way to more energetic and dense segments. While the band arguably overuses the technique, it consistently works. On some songs better than others: "Win Park Slope" begins with an ominous, bluesy slide guitar slithering around a low cello part; at about the halfway point the drums kick in harder, the vocals thicken and the whole thing builds to a luscious crescendo.

If anything, A New Tide suffers a bit from a lack of true rocking segments, but that also leaves room for some fetching sonic detail: hard-plucked standup bass; a mandolin standing in for acoustic guitar; raiding Brian Wilson's junk drawer and including the deep wheeze of a bass harmonica.

In the final analysis, A New Tide is a merely good album by a really good band. You could do far, far worse than that. (ATO)

Gomez: A New Tide (ATO)

Being a Gomez fan can be lonely. It can also be confounding. The British quintet has never broken through in the States, despite making hooky, dynamic rock music that splits the difference between Britpop and American roots, and boasts one of the best singers in the biz in Ben Ottewell.

His otherworldly voice is husky yet warm, coming at the listener in stacked textures. The perfect delivery system for emotion. To the band's credit - or detriment, depending on how you see it - Ottewell splits lead vocal duties with Ian Ball, an appealing singer but one with a more conventional tenor.

A New Tide, the band's sixth studio album since breaking onto the English scene in 1998, sort of carries on, offering neither revelation nor disappointment. But the sorry state of ProTools rock that rules the airwaves these days makes A New Tide sound pretty damn good.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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