Gomez, Whatever's on Your Mind (ATO Records, 2011)

Fifteen years into their career, the UK quintet Gomez continue to be an impressive if underrated band. In June, the band released their seventh album Whatever's on Your Mind. The album lacks a knockout track, but it's a pretty solid collection of quirky, cerebral pop firmly in keeping with what the band has done in the past.

The band's most distinctive trait is the presence of three perfectly capable singer/guitarists in Ben Ottewell, Ian Ball, and Tom Gray. The previous album A New Tide leaned heavily (perhaps too heavily) on the husky voice of Ottewell, but this album has more balance. (Presumably, whatever extra songs Ottewell had sitting around were used on his solo CD Shapes and Things.) Ball sings the fun opening song "Options," a tounge-in-cheek take on being left with a bit too much freedom after a breakup. Gray has the relatively long and ambitious "The Place and the People," a more somber breakup song in which he tries to resist the efforts of his ex to cut him off from the people and places they shared together. Ottewell contributes a nice ballad in the title track, a song about letting go of the burdens of the past and moving forward. His aggressive rocker "Equalize," though, is exactly the kind of change of pace that his solo album sorely needed.

Gomez are the kind of band that are always worth checking in with to see what they've been up to. Whatever's on Your Mind is consistently pretty good, and continues the band's impressive run of likable music.

Overall grade: B+

reviewed by Scott

"Options" on Letterman last month

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