No Hits 4.10.06
Woman! Man! - Gomez
Let's just get this out of the way: Gomez isn't making music for people like me. Their particular brand of adolescent male longing is going to have the greatest appeal for actual adolescent males and men young enough to remember that itchy, achy, awkward period when women (apparently) are unknowable devils and angels. While it would be unfair to accuse the band of trafficking in the sort of high-gloss, self-serious Britpop of Coldplay or the toothless blues rock of The Dave Matthews Band, their sound--while retaining some individuality--could be characterized as a blend of the two highly successful formulas. And that's a sound that's pretty unlikely to divert me from my latest indie pop discovery.
That said, Gomez's soon-to-be-released LP How We Operate (US, UK) on Dave Matthews' label ATO Records isn't half bad. Despite it's satin finish, the album offers plenty of nubby texture and nuance just below the surface from, in a song like "Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol," guitars that dip so hushed and low you reach for the volume control to, in "All Too Much," eager vocals that strain so hard you're almost embarrassed for the band. And every subtlety and excess in between. "Woman! Man!"--inexplicable punctuation and all--is the track that hooked me immediately with it sunny, loose-limbed chorus. It's almost something I can imagine Neil Diamond writing and singing. No, seriously. And I think it highlights the fact that this isn't a trend-chasing band. That's where Gomez and I have lots of common ground.
Totally off the subject. But if you care about literary stuff (oh, who doesn't?), Dale Peck's "ruling" in The Morning News' latest Tournament of Books is worth checking out. Peck's best known volume of criticism is Hatchet Jobs, so you (and TMN) should know what to expect. But if Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner's commentary is any indication, some folks were actually expecting Peck to be on better behavior. Kids, kids!