Gaz Coombes career has gone from surfing the rising wave of Britpop to its zenith, notching up 10 top ten singles and six top 20 albums, to recording a cover of the Kinks classic This Time Tomorrow for a recent John Lewis advert. Now he has an album all of his own, Matador. Coombes, describes the album of having moments of light and dark and says that the “beauty in both of those states” has always intrigued him.
Matador is available on vinyl LP and CD.
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Two separate people I’d count as friends have recently bounded up for me proclaiming the genius of Gaz Coombes solo stuff and that should forget all I know about Supergrass and give him a chance. This was further multiplied by recent single ‘20/20’ whose gospel-ish Spiritualized like thunderous tones have been blasting impressively out of my radio in recent weeks.
He’s certainly than better than any man approaching 40 who is still comfortably in publicly calling himself Gaz has every right to be. Opener ‘Buffalo’ sets the template for this his second solo opus with Thom Yorke wibblings, Jeff Buckley histrionics and ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ dramatics. It’s a complex album with songs that wander this way and that usually culminating in the type of crescendo that just isn’t complete until you’ve got a gospel choir involved. ‘Detroit’ for example starts out nice and Radiohead-y but thats not enough for our Gaz - a massive chorus lurches in to churn up his good work.
I prefer the more subtle elements of the album such as the sweetly plucked electronica of ‘Oscillate’ but when that sandpaper voice screeches into yet another huge blues inspired chorus my ears start to hurt. Ambitious but to my mind overcooked.
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