Listen Up: Wednesday, June 20, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Gomez

In Our Gun (Virgin)

By Christy Goldfinch

And now for the sub-sub-genre of the day: indie-blues. It’s a modern take on the late ’60s blues-rock hybrid popularized by the Rolling Stones, but indie-blues does not encompass Britney Spears’ cover of “Satisfaction.” The leaders of today’s sound are the Brit quintet Gomez, best known in the States for being overexposed on Roswell. On their third studio album, In Our Gun, Gomez perfect their blend of John Lee Hooker-meets-Beck bluesy rocky folky soul, influenced by every genre, yet indebted to none.

The instantly infectious opener, “Shot Shot,” starts with a nice Delta-blues acoustic guitar and an apparent ode to selling out — “Do it for the money / What’s wrong with that?” Honking sax swiped from the Beastie Boys’ “Brass Monkey” heralds the switch to ska-funk and “Please stop talking / Start puckering up ... You’re dead wrong.” Electronica gives folk a jolt on the bouncy “Detroit Swing 66,” a fun song about either using drugs or quitting them, depending on what lyrical images like “hyperventilated mish-mash made entirely out of bones” mean. “Army Dub” adds Kraftwerkian synth waves and all manner of quirky studio sounds to the brew. The slower songs work, too. In three-part harmony, “Do you ever stop and wonder / Where you’d be without her” sets a mournful stage for the breakup in “Sound of Sounds.” It’s beautiful.

The album isn’t perfect. The three lead vocalists trade off from song to song, and the switch from gruff to sweet to plaintive can be a bit disorienting. Worse, the closing tune, “Ballad of Nice & Easy,” succumbs to Dave Matthews Disease: It’s a boring, bland jam of happy guitars and insipid harmonies. I choose to believe it’s a brilliant parody.


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