TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2011 |
Posted by: Joe Puglisi
After ten plus years of constructions and solid foundations of sonic supplements, Gomez isn't showing any signs of age or sloth, despite their commitment to their 20th century core. The British indie darlings continue to pump their pleasant pop contortions into an anamorphic freewheel, twisting riffs fit for the MTV generation into something still considered relevant and fresh with the caveat of their already existent pedistal. Sure, the arc of Whatever's On Your Mind is somewhat concave, but not many bands reaching for that classic sound have the balls to write a bunch of ballads and stick them together mid-LP, and expect you to listen straight. Gomez are professional musicians with a superior command of their tools, and it shines even at their lowest decibels.
First single "Options" bustles with a Spoon-esque determination, "Equalize" has the booming, heartbeat bass production of a thinly arranged Matt and Kim radio bait (but unlike M+K, has the chops and the instrumentation to flesh it out into oblivion), but neither is indicative of the band's true strengths. Those are at best, standout bangers, but songs like title track "Whatever's On Your Mind" and "Song In My Heart", inflate the central nervous system of Gomez to electric heights, all with dynamic layers and harmonies. "Song" specifically, makes use of the multiple vocal focuses (the band utilizes multiple singers taking the lead, always keeping it fresh) converging on one melody for maximum effect. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet of songwriters and vocalists, although it's definitely more Brazzlian Steak House than Golden Corral.
Altogether, the record is nothing new and everything new. At this stage of the game, Gomez isn't pushing sonic boundaries like an over-extended Radiohead clone or trying to stay hip to the chillgaze nonsense of their younger, less learned peers. Gomez is just making music that kicks ears without needing gimmicky filler, a trick that somehow disappeared if your band was formed after the mid-aughts and hasn't yet been recovered by the majority of blog-born musicians. At least we've got a few good years left from the Gomez generation, because it still sounds as sticky as ever.