Gomez, How We Operate (ATO Records, 2006)

Gomez have now been a part of the British indie-rock scene for a full decade. They released a live album called Out West and a compilation album Five Men In a Hut since their previous studio album Split The Difference came out in 2004, before returning with new material on their 2006 release How We Operate. The new album is not quite as quirky as some of their past work, consisting largely of straightforward guitar rock. This has drawn some criticism from long-time fans, but as a recent convert I'm still impressed by the overall quality of their writing and musicality.

The band is fairly unique by today's standards in that it boasts three capable singers in Ian Ball, Tom Gray, and Ben Ottewell. All three also play guitar, with bassist Paul Blackburn and drummer Olly Peacock filling out the band's sound. Each singer contributes some good songs to How We Operate. Most of the songs deal with the ups and downs of relationships. Often this is done with some humor; Gray sings of a "Girlshapedlovedrug" that messes with his mind, while on "Cry On Demand," Ball laments getting into trouble with his girlfriend because what happened in Vegas didn't stay there. But like I said when reviewing Five Men In A Hut, Gomez reaches a different level when the husky-voiced Ottewell sings lead. This is especially true on the brilliant title song, and the hard-rocking "Tear Your Love Apart."

I've still really just scratched the surface with Gomez, but so far I've found lots to like. How We Operate suggests that the band are still at the top of their game ten years in, and that they'll likely have plenty to offer in the future.

Overall grade: A-

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