Gomez mag home
Gomez were born in 1996, when England’s music scene was drowning in a whirlpool of dance, rock, pop and trip-hop. The group began as a no-name band, stumbling across their title accidentally when a sign they left for a friend outside their first gig, ‘Gomez was here’ was misinterpreted, an error which they never corrected.
Many people don’t know quite what to think of the ‘most American British band’, who seemed to have stumbled onto their overnight success as haphazardly as they did their name. The quintuplet from Southport debuted with Bring it On, a refreshing fusion of alternative rock and blues with spacey acoustics and innovative use of instrumentals.
Gomez are known to have several band members sing on one record but it is arguably Ben Ottewell’s rusty vocals, that lend most to the band’s Americana sound. Their daring first venture went platinum and landed these modest British boys the Mercury prize in 1998 and widespread critical acclaim far sooner than they imagined: heights that they never quite achieved again.
Subsequent albums Liquid Skin (1999) and In Our Gun (2002) garnered commercial and critical success but many felt they lacked Gomez’s early spirit of adventure and experimentation. The band were criticised for exchanging the harder-edge sound of Bring it On for a glossier studio finish. This so-called ‘Gomez-formula’ has been the critical downfall of almost every record since their masterful debut, including their sixth and latest, A New Tide (2009). Nevertheless, flashes of their earlier genius still appear on their current LP, albeit far less frequently, and although laden with far less ambitious tracks, it still exudes promise and possibility. With a air of eclecticism and Ottewell’s distantly nostalgia-soaked vocals, Gomez still have a lot more to give.