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CD Review - Gomez 'A New Tide'

Gomez exchanges its Britpop sensibilities for folksiness on its latest release.
Gomez exchanges its Britpop sensibilities for folksiness on its latest release. (By Jay Blakesberg)
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Friday, March 27, 2009

GOMEZ "A New Tide" ATO

THEY MAY NOT be working up a version of "We're an American Band," but the members of Britain's Gomez have definitely drifted westward since their bluesy 1998 debut, "Bring It On." Some of the musicians are now based in the United States, and the group's "A New Tide" was recorded in Chicago and Charlottesville. In place of the Britpop catchiness and conciseness that characterized 2006's "How We Operate," Gomez's most focused set, the new album offers back-porch folksiness and junk-shop psychedelia.

These songs were initially recorded solo by their composers, with the other players were added later. That explains why so many tracks begin with just vocals and acoustic guitar, sometimes recalling David Gray. The most appealing tunes are the ones that sound most like full-band efforts, including "If I Ask You Nicely" (parts of which suggest the Doobie Brothers) and "Win Park Slope" (which adds cello and Amy Millan of Stars on vocals). The highlight is "Airstream Driver," an easygoing boogie with an eccentric bass part and a trippy coda. Where parts of "A New Tide" seem tentative, "Airstream Driver" is ramshackle in a good way.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Sunday with Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears at the 9:30 club (202-265-0930, http://www.930.com). Show starts at 8 p.m.


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