Album Review: Gomez - A New Tide

Gomez - A New Tide
Gomez - A New Tide (Album Art)

While writing this review of the new Gomez record, I really tried to think about who they are. What's their identity? What are they about? They're a band that I don't really think has an identity and has actually struggled to create one for most of their career. Gomez really created quite a flurry back in 1998 when their 0debut record, "Bring It On," won the notable UK Mercury prize. But after that they seem to have been pigeonholed into the world of adult alternative. It's a term that gets thrown around way too often these days, but one that I think Gomez encapsulates quite well. We can't all be blowing minds and breaking molds like Animal Collective or The Dirty Projectors. Somebody has to make a good, straight-ahead pop tune and that is what Gomez does.

Their latest release, "A New Tide," is a collection of Brit pop and American roots arrangements that I wouldn't necessarily call bland but they can borderline on being too accessible at times. The best tracks are the ones that are a bit more experimental and less predictable. "Win Park Slope" does a decent job of creating textural tension balancing the synthetic and organic elements of their signature sound. I can always get into a beat that struts and staggers, which is exactly what "Airstream Driver" does. In "Airstream Driver," its simplicity is its biggest strength, which is a bit perplexing considering they have created a reputation for being more imaginative with their songwriting.

I can't say that I loved the new Gomez album, but I didn't dislike it either. I found "A New Tide" to be a pleasant listen. Who's to say they should be writing songs according to industry expectations? They're not reinventing the wheel of musical innovation, but Gomez's new record "A New Tide" does feel like it's on its own trajectory. The album feels unforced and does successfully shed a bit of the slick, glossy formula that Gomez narrowly avoids.