Gomez, A New Tide (ATO, 2009)

The English rock band Gomez has been at it for well over a decade now, and have quietly amassed a strong catalog of songs. Last month Ian Ball, Ben Ottewell, Paul Blackburn, Tom Gray, and Olly Peacock released their sixth studio album, called A New Tide. Over the years they have traded much of their quirkiness for consistency. This has alienated some of their fans, but in general has not adversely the overall quality of their recorded output. Sometimes, though, too much consistency isn't necessarily a good thing.

As usual, the vocals are shared between Ball, Ottewell, and Gray. All three contribute good songs, from Ottewell's "Little Pieces" to Gray's swingy "If I Ask You Nicely" to Ball's hard rocker "Airstream Driver." There's also a nice segue from the energetic "Win Park Slope" to the quiet "Bone Tired." But while the album is steady and solid from beginning to end, it lacks a real attention-getting standout track. There's nothing here on level of their best song from the past, like "Sweet Virginia," "Ping One Down," or "How We Operate."

A New Tide is another one of those albums which, despite being pretty good, will likely suffer commercially because there's not one song in particular that can force its way onto people's iPods. Gomez have made songs like that in the past, so it's a bit disappointing not to hear one or two on this record. Still, the album is likeable enough all the way through to make it worth a few listens.

Overall grade: B

reviewed by Scott

"Airstream Driver" performed in the WFUV studios

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